Taxi wars in Varna caused a dramatic collapse of prices

26 Nov

Taxi companies waging war in the Bulgarian port city of Varna have caused a dramatic collapse of prices locally, the private television channel bTV reported on November 25 2010.

Protests have been ongoing for several weeks, and prices slashed by 50 per cent. Taxi drivers in Varna protested last week because one particular firm had reduced its prices by 20 per cent and was “stealing” their customers. So in response to this strategy, another firm has offered a 50 per cent discount.

Until recently, Varna had one of the highest tariffs in Bulgaria at 0.89 leva day fare and 0.99 leva night fare, but prices now have been halved to 0.55 leva, the report said. But when individual firms in Varna were contacted and asked why the prices are dropping, they replied that this was in response to the “economic crisis” and had “nothing to do with the protests”.

Meanwhile, the situation in Sofia appears to be quite the opposite.

As many as six out of seven taxis in Sofia cheat their customers by inflating fares, Automobile Administration deputy chief Atanas Todorov said, cited by mass circulation daily 24 Chassa on November 24 2010.

Far too many Bulgarian or foreign tourists still board a taxi at Sofia airport to a destination in Sofia city centre only to find themselves having to pay a bill approaching 100 leva.

Taxi drivers are able to get away with flagrant over-charging because of loopholes in legislation, as some companies charge seven leva/km. For the moment, however, the legislation is such that they are able to get away with it.

Whereas a typical fare from the Sofia Airport to Sofia city centre should cost about 15 leva, some tourists might be charged as much as 140 leva, depending on the company they chose.