Bucharest is the best connected city in Romania, offering a good network of urban transport options and many mobility options for other destinations within Romania. However, the country's overall transport system is not as developed as in Western European countries, with highways connecting only major cities, and scarce options of transport for less frequented routes.
Public transport in Bucharest can be either underground or surface transport. Currently, the two systems are not integrated, and there is no common fare or connectivity between systems.
The Bucharest underground (metrou) is the most efficient, comfortable and fastest public transportation method in the city. The system, managed by Metrorex S.A., has four lines totaling 69 kilometers of track and 51 stations, and it reaches the majority of the city's residential areas and business districts. A new line is currently being constructed, which will add 10 more stations and will improve the mobility in the South-West of the city.
The lines are:
Trains run from 5:00 to 23:30 every day, and peak hours are approximately between 7:30 - 9:00 in the mornings, and 17:30 - 19:00 in the evening. The M2 line, Berceni-Pipera, tends to be the most crowded, as it connects the main business district in the North to the rest of the city.
Tickets are sold at the ticket offices inside the underground stations. Currently Metrorex offers the following basic ticket options:
Bucharest has a good surface transportation network, consisting of buses, trams and trolleys. The network is monitored by the Public Transit Authority of Bucharest (RATB). For some lines, long waiting times are frequent because of the heavy Bucharest traffic, and there is a lot of inconsistency in the level of service offered. However, during the past few years, significant investments have been made in order to modernize the transport infrastructure, and the overall performance of the system has improved considerably.
Most lines run from 4:30 to 23:00 every day, and certain routes also have a limited night time service.
Access to the system is on the basis of a card, that can be either nominal or generic. Cards can be purchased and recharged at the kiosks in front of the bus stations.
Single journeys cost 1.3 RON for regular lines, 3.5 RON for express lines and 1.5 RON for pre-urban lines. However, the cards can be used as electronic wallets, with the possibility of differential fares for specific lines.
Tickets can also be bought by sending a SMS to the number 7458 and showing the ticket confirmation at the gate.
| Metro: Metrorex |
Bus, Tram and Trolley: RATB
Romania has a good railway network, overseen by CFR Călători. The majority of the trains connecting Bucharest to other cities depart from the main train station, Gara de Nord (Piața Gării de Nord, Nr. 1).
Trains can be either Regio (short-distance) or Interregio (long-distance), and the timetable and the schedule can be found on Mersul Trenurilor CFR. The railway system is generally quite reliable. However, there are currently no high-speed trains in Romania, and the travel times between distant locations can be quite long.
There are international services connecting Bucharest to Budapest, Vienna and Prague.
CFR is also a member of the Interrail network, that makes it easy to travel to 30 European countries within a month with a single pass. Interrail passes acquired in other countries are also valid in Romania. There is also the possibility to buy an Interrail pass from CFR stations.
Tickets can be bought at the train stations or online. The fares depend on the distance travelled, the services and the type of train. There are discounts for advanced, group and online purchases, as well as for round trips.
In order to buy a ticket via internet, you should first register on the CFR website, and select your journey based on your point of departure and your destination.
|Train: CFR Călători|
Romania has no single national bus service, and there are local companies ensuring bus transport between destinations. The level of service and the quality of the vehicles can very significantly, and so can the price.
Bus companies and routes can be found on Autogari.ro. Tickets can usually be bought from the terminal where the bus departs from. However, sometimes buses don't leave from a bus station, or the companies don't have a permanent ticket counter inside the station. In this situation you should call the bus company directly in order to enquire where tickets are sold.
There main bus stations in Bucharest are:
Henri Coanda International Airport (ICAO: LROP, IATA: OTP) is Bucharest's only commercial airport working at the moment, and it serves both international and domestic destinations.
The airport is located on Calea Bucureștilor 224E, Otopeni 075170, 16.5 kilometers from the Bucharest city center.
Trains: The railway connecting the airport to the city is now in construction. However, a provisional minivan service is provided until the CFR Bucuresti Aeroport train station, which is connected to Gara de Nord Bucharest through an express line, Henri Coanda Express. The total price of the minivan + express train ticket is 6.8 RON, and the schedule of the express line can be found here.
Bus: Buses are the most convenient form of public transport to and from the Bucharest airport. There are currently two express bus lines:
The cost of a single journey is 3.5 RON. Tickets can be bought from the kiosks at the airport. Buses run every 40 minutes, and their timetable can be found on the RATB website.
Drive: The airport is 16.5 kilometers from the Bucharest city center, taking the DN1 road. Keep in ind that traffic can be quite heavy, especially at peak hours.
Taxi: Authorized taxis can be arranged from the airport, at the maximum fare of 1.4 RON/km. There is no need to call in advance. Depending on where your destination in Bucharest is, the total price will be between 25-40 RON.
It is common to hail a taxi on the street or in front of hotels, tourist attractions or train and bus stations. Taxis can also be found in informal "taxi stations" near gas stations or major squares.
However, you must be cautious when taking a taxi on the street, as unauthorized taxis are still a common phenomenon in Romania and they may charge you abnormally high prices and/or pose a risk to your safety. Taxis are yellow, and authorized ones must have the name of the company and the fare visibly written on the outside, and the license displayed on the inside. If it doubt, it is generally preferable to book in advance or have your hotel call a safe taxi for you.
Fares per kilometer range between 1.4 - 1.9 RON, with a recharge during night hours. A tip of around 10-15% is usually expected in addition to the total fare.
As in any major city, car hire is not always the best option to move around due to heavily congested traffic and the scarcity of parking spaces. However, if you plan to travel around the country, renting a car may be better than using public transport if you aim for comfort and flexibility.
In Romania, driving is on the right, and priority is given to traffic coming from the right. Seat belts are mandatory.
If you do decide to rent a car, expect to pay between 40-80 euros per day, depending on the type of car. Drivers must be over 18 and possess a valid driving license. EU and Canadian driving licenses are accepted without problems. However, in other cases, an International Driving License is required, which must be shown together with your local driver's license.
Bucharest is notorious for its scarcity of parking spaces, with a ratio of more than ten cars for each parking space. This is why many prefer using the public transport. Parking in public spaces costs around 3 RON/hour, with different fares during nights and week-ends.
Once you have become a resident of the city, you can apply to be assigned a permanent parking space, with the council of the district you live in. Documentation and procedures are different for each district. However, if you plan on owning a vehicle, the best option is to have private parking facilities in your housing arrangement.
| Bucharest Map: http://harta-bucuresti.com.ro |
Romania Map: http://www.harta-romaniei.org