Fact Check

Can You Get a Free Bus Ticket by Doing 20 Squats in Romania?

Social media users claimed that Romania introduced an innovative way to encourage people to stay healthy with instant gratification.

Published Jun 23, 2023

 (Twitter user @Dr_TheHistories)
Image Via Twitter user @Dr_TheHistories
You can pay for a bus ticket in Romania by doing 20 squats.

In Cluj-Napoca, Romania, a so-called "health ticket" was introduced that allowed individuals to use public transportation for free by completing 20 squats. However, the organizers only implemented it in one city for a limited time. As of this writing, it's unknown if the program will resume at a future date.

Social media users have been sharing pictures of an exercising woman on various social media platforms, claiming that you could pay for a bus ticket in Romania by doing 20 squats. 

In fact, Cluj-Napoca, a city in northwestern Romania, gained worldwide fame for its initiative to promote a healthy lifestyle by enabling its citizens to do 20 squats in two minutes instead of paying for a bus ticket. The Sports Festival initiated the project with the support of the Cluj-Napoca City Hall and the Local Council in 2020 to celebrate the European Week of Sport. The "health ticket" was aimed at creating a direct link between physical activity and benefit, with people immediately receiving a reward.

Travelers could get a bus ticket in a free and healthy way by simply doing 20 squats, measured by a special camera installed in the booth on Memorandumului Street. The free ticket was valid for one journey on the city's public transport network. Sports Festival maintained the "health stations" in the following years - the first edition lasted from August to December 2020, the second one from August 2021 to January 2022. Organizers claim that in the project's first two phases, citizens of Cluj did over 2.3 million squats.

The project gained international recognition, and in 2022 organizers decided to expand it. To get a free bus ride with the "health ticket 2.0," citizens had to complete a 500-meter ride with a bike in under 3 minutes.

The second version of the "health ticket" booth was located at the station in front of the Central store in Cluj-Napoca. Organizers underlined that this time they wanted to choose a movement accessible to everyone, regardless of age and physical condition. 


"BILETUL DE SANATATE 2.0." Sports Festival, https://www.sportsfestival.com/biletul-de-sanatate-2-draft/. Accessed 23 June 2023.

Biletul de Sănătate 2.0 by @SPORTSFESTIVALROMANIA. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Cb-GHVCwUM. Accessed 23 June 2023.

Biletul de Sănătate by @SPORTSFESTIVALROMANIA | Ediția 2022. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCpb0nyO2IA. Accessed 23 June 2023.

"Biletul de sănătate revine în toamna 2022." Sports Festival, https://www.sportsfestival.com/biletul-de-sanatate-revine-2022/. Accessed 23 June 2023.

Bociąga, Przemysław. "In Romania, You Get a Free Bus Ride for 20 Squats." 3 Seas Europe, 26 Oct. 2022, https://3seaseurope.com/romania-squats-bus-ticket-cluj-napoca/.

European Week of Sport Home | Sport. 20 Mar. 2023, https://sport.ec.europa.eu/node/400.

"Hotărârea 255/2022 • Cluj-Napoca." Cluj-Napoca, https://primariaclujnapoca.ro/consiliu-local/hotarare-de-consiliu/hotararea-255-din-2022/. Accessed 23 June 2023.

https://www.studiox.bg. Squat 20 Times and Get a Free Bus Ride in Cluj-Napoca | TheMayor.EU. 23 June 2023, https://www.themayor.eu/en/a/view/squat-20-times-and-get-a-free-bus-ride-in-cluj-napoca-5994.

"Primăria și consiliul local CLUJ-NAPOCA." Cluj-Napoca, https://primariaclujnapoca.ro/. Accessed 23 June 2023.

Aleksandra Wrona is a reporting fellow for Snopes, based in the Warsaw area.

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