Istanbul, taxi drivers fined

More than 15,000 taxi drivers fined in Istanbul for users complaints

Complaints from Istanbul taxi users include abusive prices, bad manners, and taxi drivers “picking” travellers, choosing tourists over locals.

More than 15,000 taxi drivers were fined in Istanbul and almost 11,000 taxis were penalized for complaints from service users in the first 10 months of 2022 alone, according to data published in the Turkish press citing sources from the Istanbul Metropolitan City Hall (İBB).

In total, 15,551 taxi drivers were sanctioned between January and October of this year, while 10,696 taxis received a sanction in the same period, totaling the amount of the fines 42,650 liras (about 2,170 euros).

The most common complaints from users of the service in the city refer to taxi drivers who charge excessive prices for trips or who behave badly; there are also numerous complaints about taxi drivers who “choose” travellers, rejecting those who want to make short journeys and preferring to pick up tourists at key points in the city.

The Istanbul Metropolitan City Council claims to have received a total of 63,844 complaints from users of the taxi service in the metropolis in just ten months, of which 28,467 were acted after a breach of the regulations could be demonstrated. In case of violating the code, the municipal authorities can order a 20-day suspension of the taxi driver’s license, which can be indefinite in case of a reoffending driver.

Videos to report offending taxi drivers

For their part, the taxi driver associations complain about the high taxes and, in this case, accuse the city council of always taking sides with the users, and add that in many cases videos recorded by the passengers showing taxi drivers violating the rules – videos that later are spread through social media – are accepted.

Union representatives maintain that recording drivers without their consent is “illegal” – despite the fact that in many cases it is the only way for service users to demonstrate violations – and claim to be victims of a “smear campaign“, so a few days ago they called a concentration of taxi drivers in front of the municipal headquarters.

In any case, it is evident that taking into account the high number of complaints from users and of taxis fined, it can be deduced that there is a serious problem with taxi drivers in Istanbul, and although they insists on not criminalizing the entire collective due to the bad practices of some taxi drivers, more and more voices are calling for measures to end “wiliness” in the service, including the introduction of more competition.