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Istanbul taxi drivers protest new İDO bus service

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires | 6/25/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Taxi drivers in Istanbul are up in arms about competition from a new shuttle-bus system, but some riders have said cabbies are getting what they deserve.

Taxi drivers in Istanbul are up in arms about competition from a new municipal shuttle-bus system for ferry passengers, but some riders have said cabbies are getting what they deserve for providing poor service.

Drivers who gathered Thursday night at the city’s Yenikapı pier said they have been losing money since the Istanbul Fast Ferries Co. Inc., or İDO, started its shuttle-bus service from the pier Monday.

The buses take ferry and sea-bus passengers to various central points in the city for 5 Turkish Liras.

A CNNTürk story about the drivers’ protest drew criticism from the website’s readers, with one online commenter writing in response to the cabbies: “You do not take passengers in your cars if the place they want to go to is close by, or if you do not like the route, or if it is raining or if the way the rider wants to go is congested by traffic. You deserve this.”

At the protest, Memduh Çırak, the head of the United Taxi Drivers Association, read a press statement saying that the city-run shuttle service primarily affects taxi drivers and also causes the municipality’s Istanbul Public Transport Authority, or İETT, to lose money. Drivers also criticized İDO and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality for making the decision to provide shuttle buses without consulting them, a demand at which some CNNTürk readers scoffed.

“Should they ask you first before providing services to people? You swindle people so regularly and think they should come and ask you?” one commenter wrote.

Passengers using the İDO shuttle-bus service can go to destinations including Atatürk Airport and the city’s Kabataş, Bakırköy, Eminönü and Cevizlibağ districts.

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