Istanbul taxi drivers hunt down, beat up Uber drivers as tensions rise
Tensions between regular taxi drivers and Uber drivers have been brewing for some time in Istanbul, but have recently reached a new high as reports emerge of a group of taxi drivers who allegedly hunt down and beat up Uber drivers at night in the country’s most populous city.
It is claimed that some taxi drivers, pretending to be customers, call Uber vehicles and rough up their drivers in the city’s isolated, quiet quarters, Habertürk newspaper reported on March 7.
Such incidents are not rare occurrences but happen almost every day, according to the newspaper.
Uber driver Oğuz Usta, who alleged that he was the victim of one such attack, has brought the issue to court. Prosecutors are now investigating his claims.
Another Uber driver told Habertürk that they are constantly harassed and insulted by taxi drivers.
“One taxi driver blocked my way and attacked my vehicle. That person produced a knife and tried to force me out my car,” the Uber chauffeur said.
The driver also claimed that in another incident they approached a client and told this person that he could not stand and wait for an Uber vehicle there.
Taxi drivers unhappy over Uber operations
Taxi drivers frequently complain that they are losing customers to Uber.
Their accounts appear to confirm allegations made by Uber drivers.
“They take our customers. We park our vehicles to pick up a customer. But we see a tourist with a cell phone calling an Uber vehicle,” one taxi driver told the newspaper. He also complained that they were unable to make enough money because of Uber.
“If the government does not defend our rights, such incidents [physical confrontations,] will continue to occur,” said another one.
Taxis serve 1.5 million passengers a day, according to the newspaper.
Taxi drivers say that Uber drivers do not pay tax, a claim Uber drivers deny.
Uber drivers say they invoice their customers and pay their tax.
Uber has been operating in İstanbul since 2014 and has more than 3,000 drivers, according to Habertürk.