Transportation in Bucharest is fairly complicated. As Bucharest has one of the most extensive, but rarely interconnected public transportation network, passengers need to inform themselves prior travelling with buses, trams or the metro. Taxis are rather cheap and are the most common means of transportation by visitors of Bucharest.
Bucharest is not only the Romanian capital, it is also the biggest city in the whole area. This means that Bucharest is a real transportation hub. Several train stations make it possible to take a train to other European capitals and cities in Romania. Even though the train network is not the most reliable, it’s actually one of the most comfortable ways to get from one city in Romania to another one. Some of the train stations are well connected to the public transportation network of Bucharest, others are a little tougher to reach.
Metro in Bucharest
The metro in Bucharest is the backbone of the transportation network of the city. The metro is operated by a different operator than all other means of public transportation which means that you have to buy special tickets. Interconnecting between buses, trams, trolleybuses and the metro is possible at several stations, but way more complicated than in other cities.
Currently, there are four lines of which three are already finished. Metro line 4 is only a little more than 10 kilometers long at the moment, but is supposed to be extended to the airport as well as another area in the Northwest of Bucharest in the next years. Moreover, there are plans for two more metro lines of which the first is supposed to be finished in 2017.
Metro lines in Bucharest:
While it’s easy to explain the metro system in Bucharest, it gets way tougher when it comes to the trams in the city. There are not only 23 different tram lines, but there’s also one converted light rail line which is known as “light metro”. The full infrastructure of the trams is currently overhauled and is supposed to be more modern and more convenient in the future.
At the moment, only some of the trams are accessible, making it tough to use the system for elderly and disabled people. For tourists, the trams in Bucharest are actually a good way to get from one spot to another as they run frequently and relatively fast. The fastest line is the converted light rail line mentioned before.
As if the transportation network of Bucharest would not already be complicated enough, there are also different kinds of buses in the city. As an addition to the trams, there are also several trolleybus lines which are running on the high demand routes in the city center.
Moreover, there are several bus lines. Interestingly, while having rather old trams and trolleybuses, the bus fleet of Bucharest is one of the most modern ones in Europe. Pretty much all buses are accessible and more than half got air-conditioning. The buses operate on several different routes throughout the city and are also the easiest way (leaving out taxis) to get from the airport to the city center and vice versa.
Even though the buses and the metro are actually very convenient, most tourist in Bucharest use taxis. As the prices are rather cheap, most hotels don’t even know about alternative options to get from one place to another. The base fare for taxis in Bucharest is just 1.39 RON (~ 0.31 Euro / 0.34 US-Dollar) which is also the fare for every further kilometer.
Rides to the airport should not cost more than 35 RON (~ 7.70 Euro / 8.50 US-Dollar). Be aware of the fact that there are several taxi companies which charge way more than 1.39 RON per kilometer. Even though these taxis may be more comfortable from time to time, the taxis are more a rip-off than additional comfort.
As Bucharest is less touristic than most other cities in Europe, there are rarely any special means of transport. The only remarkable exception is a sightseeing bus which operates on a single route.
Even though the ratings on Tripadvisor are rather average, the low prices make it worth checking the sightseeing bus out nevertheless.