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The taxi scam is getting out of hand in Istanbul; municipal authorities take action

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Growing complaints about taxi scams have prompted municipal authorities in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and a cultural hub that attracts millions of tourists each year, to take action.

“Taxi drivers have turned me down too many times because the trip is too short or they don’t know the way. Every year the taxi situation in Istanbul gets worse. It is difficult to get a taxi. , and many drivers are rude or try to trick customers into taking longer routes instead of shorter ones, ”said Ayse Guven, a businesswoman from Istanbul, Xinhua reported.

When passengers, especially foreigners, don’t know how to get to their location, taxi drivers can easily detour into the city to inflate the fees. Meanwhile, the number of taxis in Istanbul has remained stable since the early 1990s, as the city’s population continued to grow, exacerbating the taxi crisis. The municipality wishes to increase the number of taxis available. However, taxi groups are opposed, arguing that it is better to repair the quality of vehicles rather than increasing their number, which would lead to lower pay for drivers.

“My income has dropped by half over the past 18 months due to the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdowns. More taxis on the road means more competition and less money in my pocket,” Alparslan said Saglam, a taxi driver. Xinhua.

As complaints of rude behavior, scams and unsafe driving increase, the Istanbul Municipality recently decided to equip taxis with internal and external cameras. The latest resolution will initially include around 15,000 taxis out of a total of over 17,000 taxis. The problem of taxis is predominant in the tourist areas of the historic districts of central Istanbul, with drivers sometimes defrauding foreign visitors, especially those from oil-rich Gulf countries, who are believed to have more money.

Yellow taxi drivers have also been accused of overcharging tourists, prioritizing foreigners over Turkish customers and refusing short-haul trips across Asia and Europe. Despite increased police observation, several drivers did not comply with COVID-19 requirements.

entrenched scam

If you are a foreign visitor to Istanbul, getting on a taxi can be an expensive proposition. Finding a vacant taxi as a local can be difficult, especially in the busier areas of Turkey’s most congested metropolis. The number of criminals continues to increase, tarnishing the reputation of the city’s taxi drivers. For some drivers, these are the “other drivers” who are looking to make a quick buck by scamming visitors. There are only 17,000 taxis in a city of over 15 million people, and taxi owners and drivers – whose license costs have exceeded $ 273,000 (TL 2.3 million) – seem to want earn as much money as possible in as little time as possible. as possible.

Image: Unsplash / Representative Image


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