Istanbul Taxi Tips and Hints9th February 2015
Istanbul Taxis - Taking an Istanbul taxi is a convenient way to get from place to place in the city. Surprisingly, they can be an affordable option when you have a few people moving around together.
They also offer the added convenience of avoiding waiting, and bringing you right to your destination.
Hailing a taxi in Istanbul is as simple as stepping off the curb and holding out your arm. So what else do you need to know about an Istanbul taxi?
Getting a Taxi
Empty taxi's should normally have the top of the cab illuminated, while occupied cabs do not. (unsurprisingly though, many Istanbul taxi's don't bother with this system, so it can be difficult to determine who is available and who isn't, but either way, don't worry, an empty taxi will soon pull up quickly!)
For visitors from the UK: Don’t expect Istanbul taxi drivers to know the way to your destination like 'London cabbies'. Taxi drivers like it best if you can give them an address or the cross-streets of where you are going, even if it's a famous landmark or well-known hotel or restaurant. This will make your life a lot easier.
Most taxi drivers will ask you for the telephone number of the place where you want to go, so that they can ask for directions. So do make sure you have the telephone number, and address of your final destination. (This will save you time)
What you should know about Istanbul Taxi Drivers
- Many Istanbul taxi drivers are honest, polite and are very helpful. Some speak basic English, whilst others are more fluent, and will always try to offer you assistance. HOWEVER, as in every city there are some 'opportunist' who will try to charge extra lira to unsuspecting tourists or drive the 'long way' to increase the price of a fare. Signs of a dishonest taxi driver might be:-
'Meter no problem my friend, I give you cheap price' - Remember to always use the taxi meter and the reading should start at 3,25 TL and should display ‘GÜNDÜZ’ for daytime, and ‘GECE’ for nighttime.
If the driver refuses to use the meter, simply get out of the car and wait for another taxi to come along.
- All taxi drivers are licensed and registered. Some will display their taxi ID number on the inside of the back doors (on a metal plaque) and others will display their ID in the front of the vehicle. All vehicles will display the registration number on the exterior doors and on the roof.
- No seat belts in the back - It is not law in Turkey to wear your seat belt when travelling in the back seat of a vehicle. And you will find that even though most taxi cabs do actually have seat belts in the back seats, there is nowhere to fasten them too.
- Traffic - Istanbul is a very busy city, and traffic is a common site on city roads. Allow yourself plenty of time when traveling to the airport or between business meetings.
- Istanbul taxi drivers are very impatient, and it's not uncommon to hear them complaining in Turkish about other drivers around them, honking the horn, revving the engine, or trying to drive on the outside lane to reach a quicker exit.
Istanbul Taxi Apps
- In recent years, some fantastic apps have been developed to allow easier, cheaper and safer ways of travelling in an Istanbul Taxi. The app, "Bitaksi" is definitely one to check out. It is a dedicated taxi app exclusively for Istanbul (and Ankara). https://bitaksi.com/index-eng.php
It allows payment via credit card, and is free to download from the apps store of direct from the Bitaksi website.
- Another famous apps worth checking out is 'Uber' - An international taxi app. https://www.uber.com/
"Get a taxi, private car or rideshare from your mobile phone. Uber connects you with a driver in minutes" - Uber
- Taxi Calculator - This website link is worth checking out and offers you a guide price for taxi fares.
http://taksiyle.com/en - Please note, it doesn't always give an accurate quotation, but it does give you a rough idea of what to expect for the cost of your journey.
Istanbul Taxi Fares & Tipping
- The starting fare should always read 3,25 TL (‘GÜNDÜZ’ for daytime, and ‘GECE’ for nighttime)
- You are only obligated to pay the meter price, and no extra i.e baggage or shopping
- Tipping is not expected and you don't need to offer a tip to a taxi driver, but if you would like to offer something extra because the service, or driving was particularly good, an amount of 15% of the fare price is acceptable.
How to file a Complaint
If you choose to make a complaint about your taxi driver, here is the procedure:-
Obtain the license plate number or ID Number and write the date, time, location and a description of the incident and send this directly to:
Istanbul Public Transport Services Directorate:
Toplu Ulaşım Hizmetleri Müdürlüğü
Beylerbeyi Cad. No:4
Edirnekapı - İSTANBUL Tel : +90 (212) 453 78 78 Fax : +90 (212) 453 78 77
TAKING TAXIS TO AND FROM AIRPORTS - WARNING: Beware of scams!
Use only OFFICIAL Istanbul TAXIS or PRE-ARRANGED CAR SERVICES. Never accept a ride from anyone who offers you a ride, especially near the luggage carousel or directly outside the terminal doors.
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