Planned restrictions on taxis from Istanbul’s third airport stir controversy
Taxis that will bring travelers to Istanbul’s third airport, which is still under construction, will not be allowed to pick up customers from the airport back to the city, daily Habertürk reported on May 2.
A taxi cooperative that currently operates at Istanbul’s International Atatürk Airport has recently signed an agreement that will grant the cooperative the exclusive right to manage taxi services at the city’s third airport.
According to the deal, a total of 660 taxis will provide service to the new airport.
The restriction effectively means taxis that bring travelers to the third airport have to make a long journey back to the city without any customers.
That is why taxi drivers who are not included in the agreement inked by the cooperative do not want to take customers to the airport. They argue that they will suffer considerable losses if they travel to the airport.
“Let us assume I agree to take a customer to the third airport. I have to travel at least 40 to 50 kilometers to get there. Since I need to take the E-5 or TEM highways on the way back to the city from the airport, it is impossible for me to find another customer,” a taxi driver, identified by his first name Ali, told the newspaper.
“Such a journey would definitely cost me a lot. Why should I take a customer to the third airport? I will not do that,” he added.
In fact, such restrictions currently apply for the Atatürk Airport where only designated taxis take travelers from the airport to the city.
Another individual, who operates a taxi stand in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, complained that UBER drivers are not subject to such restrictions and they freely provide service between the airports and the city.
“This is unfair. Last year we submitted a petition to the Istanbul Municipality’s Department of Transportation, asking for the lifting of those restrictions. Our efforts, however, have failed,” he said.
Pointing to the already existing problems with regular taxis and UBER, the taxi driver predicted more troubles.
“There will also be problems between taxi drivers and travelers. This injustice must be undone,” he said.
One of the world’s largest airports
The official opening of the first phase of the new airport in Istanbul is planned to take place on Oct. 29, the day Turkey marks its Republic Day.
When it is completed, the new airport will assume most of the passenger traffic from Atatürk International Airport, hosting 250 airlines flying to more than 350 destinations, making it one of the world’s largest transport hubs.