Parking fee hike at Istanbul’s main bus terminal stirs conflict
Fırat Alkaç - ISTANBUL
CİHAN photoDisagreements over the recent raises in parking charges at Istanbul’s main station for intercity buses have heated up, as around 500 bus drivers plan to hold a demonstration ride in the city to protest the company which runs the station in the district of Bayrampaşa on the European side.
AVTER, the company which has run the bus station for over 20 years, raised the fee which it charges from each bus entering or exiting the station from 75 Turkish Liras ($25) to 95 liras ($32.6) in July. The company also raised the parking fee per hour from 1 lira to 3 liras.
Following the hikes, some of the bus drivers began parking their vehicles outside the station on the access roads next to the nearby highway. Gun fights have been seen in the area and seven employees from the bus station management were injured.
“When we park our vehicle outside the station, the police fine us so we couldn’t leave our buses. If we enter the station, we face fairly high parking fees. We are in the middle of the station management and the police,” said a bus driver.
A total of 2,000 intercity buses use the station every day, according to the company’s management. Around 500 bus drivers now plan to organize a protest drive in the city, which already suffers from heavy daily traffic.