Istanbul’s cab drivers protest Uber
Taxicab drivers, who are also members of unions and associations, gathered at an Istanbul hotel with representatives from the three biggest political parties on Oct. 9 to protest and discuss possible solutions to what they see as “the Uber problem.”
“Just as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization [FETÖ] uses the ByLock system on their phones, these people use a similar program,” Fahrettin Can, chairman of the Istanbul Taxicab Owners’ Association, said.
“Using this system, they steer passengers. Meaning, it is unfair profit. We have given 50 years of our lives to these plates. We pay a lot of money for them. They come here with their 100,000-lira worth of cars and do ‘parallel’ cabbing,” Can said, drawing similarity between the drivers and FETÖ, also known as the Parallel State Structure (PDY).
The taxicab community does not only want Uber drivers’ removal from the roads, but are asking for them to be fined as well.
“There is no such thing as competing with them. Even if they pay their taxes, this system is not legal. That’s why we want their communications to be cut at once and for them to pay fines,” Can said, adding that Uber drivers do not have legal documents that allow them to transport passengers.
Not being able to find passengers in the future is something the protesters were concerned about, yet, even if Uber - one of the several smartphone-enabled ride-hailing services in Turkey - is removed, conventional taxi drivers are likely to face new obstacles in the taxicab business.
Some 200 electric taxis will hit Istanbul roads by the end of this year, Istanbul Chamber of Taxi Drivers (İTEO) head Yahya Uğur said on Oct. 9.