Desperate Ukrainian refugees who have fled war are willing to pay thousands of euros for a ride to safety in Western Europe, a Romanian news site reported Thursday.
“Some well-off Ukrainian refugees have ended up paying taxi drivers enormous sums to go from Romania to Western Europe as quickly as they can,” Ziarul de Iași reported.
„I had request for a ride from Iasi airport to Munchen, and to Italy or even Varma (Bulgaria) today. I don’t know what’s up with these people. It’s like they aren’t thinking straight. Iasi to Munchen is 3,500 euros. That’s half a car. And cash too!,” a taxi driver told the site.
Some 550,000 refugees have arrived in Romania since Russia invaded Ukraine a month ago, the United Nations said on Wednesday. Most have left Romania and gone to Western Europe.
Train travel is free in Romania, while other refugees have caught flights. Others are traveling by road either in their own cars or by using taxis.
The going fare for northern Italy is about 2,000 euros, and it’s at least 1,000 euros to Varna in Bulgaria. There’s demand as there aren’t any seats left on planes.
A round trip to Munich from Iasi in northeast Romania is about 3,000 kilometers which works out at 1.15 euros per kilometer, the site said.
Taxi drivers are either using company cars without the taxi light or their own cars. Taxi drivers are negotiating with the companies they work for to get the lucrative jobs.