Untitled Document Sunday in Ruse

A Sunday Afternoon Trip to Bulgaria:
Crossing the Romanian-Bulgarian Border

The Road:

From Bucharest to the Bulgarian border it’s only 60 km, about an hour’s drive over roads that are just being improved with European money. In the near future it will be possible to drive over nicely extended asphalt through rural settlements with little farm houses hiding for cover from the traffic that won’t bother to slow down. But for many the road is an opportunity to offer their agricultural or handicraft products.

The Bridge:

The road takes you right to the Romanian border town of Giurgiu where at km 488+700 one of the still very few bridges in this area crosses the Danube to connect Giurgiu (Romania) with Ruse (Bulgaria). It is a prominent double bridge for trains and cars built in 1952-4. It is 2,223.92 m long and consists of 38 infrastructures, among which 18 foundations on floating axles (from the 6th file up to the 23rd), and the rest of files on enforced concrete.

Transit Tax:

As car traffic is assigned to the upper part of the bridge a long drive way leads up to the embankment. On the way is the last Rompetrol station where it is more than advisable to check whether your compulsory Rovinieta (Romanian Road Tax Vignette) is still valid. It will be checked at the border. (Unfortunately the vignette is designed in such a way that nobody can tell its validity from just looking at it – so make sure you have kept the receipt.)

After you have passed the gas station you’ll see the first major check-point and turnpike where you’ll have to get out of your car and pay 41,40 RON (≈ 11,50€) to the General Administration of the Public Service of Commerce of the Municipality of Giurgiu. This mandatory tax is the first of several payments you will have to make in order to be allowed to cross the bridge. At no time anybody will inform you how many fees are still ahead of you.

Ecological Tax:

At the next booth you are required to show your car registration and pay 37,00 RON (≈ 10,25€) to the Ministry of Public Finances, General Custom’s Administration Giurgiu-Autostrada Ghiseu Unic.

Although the receipt states that this tax has to be collected at the border, we were never asked at any other Romanian border, neither to Hungary nor to Moldavia, to pay such an ecological tax.

Bridge Tax:

At the same booth one also has to pay a bridge tax, which we found fair enough as we could see that some effort to repair the bridge had been made. What took us by surprise was the fact that this tax has to be paid in Euros. So you better keep small change, as a matter of fact 6,00€ because nobody is willing to give you any change in return and they don’t accept Romanian Lei at the current exchange rate.

This fee goes to the National Company of Roadways and National Traffic of Romania and is collected by the Agency of Control and Collection in Giurgiu.

Romanian Passport Control:

Works fine as long as you hold a valid passport.

Romanian Customs:

Not many questions asked when leaving the country.

Crossing the Bridge:

In the middle of the bridge you enter Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Passport Control:

No problem with an EU-passport.

On the checkpoint booth it says: No payments accepted here. That way we were discretely informed that further payments were ahead of us.

Bulgarian Customs:

Nothing to declare.

Des-infection fee:

For having the car des-infected and “mechanically sprinkled” we pay another 2,00€ to the National Veterinarian Medical Service of the Republic of Bulgaria. In reality it amounts to driving through a pool of grayish liquid.

Bulgarian Road Tax:

For another 4,00€ we purchase the Bulgarian road vignette which at least shows clearly its date of expiry.

Total Border Crossing Duration:

With hardly any traffic (not more than 4 cars apart from us): approx. 3 hours!

Returning to Romania:

Being prepared to go through the same procedure once again we were relieved that apart from Bulgarian and then Romanian passport and customs control we didn’t have to pay anything this time, until…

Transit Tax:

At the very end of the bridge embankment we were once again stopped by a turnpike guarded by an officer of the Municipality of Giurgiu who collected once more the local transit tax of 41,40 RON.

Total Border Crossing Expenses:

10,88 RON 3,00€ Romanian Road Tax (one week)
41,40 RON 11,50€ Local Transit Tax of the Municipality of Giurgiu
37,00 RON 10,25€ Ecological Tax
6,00€ Bridge Toll
2,00€ Car Des-infection
4,00€ Bulgarian Road Tax
41,40 RON 11,50€ Local Transit Tax of the Municipality of Giurgiu
48,25€ (1/6 of an average Romanian monthly wage)



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