Istanbul taxi scams under scrutiny

Istanbul taxi scams under scrutiny

Istanbul taxi scams under scrutiny

Inspections on taxi drivers in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu and Eminönü districts have revealed the differences in treatment toward local Turks and visiting foreigners.

During the afternoon hours of Aug. 10, civilian police teams from the city’s traffic division have disguised as tourists from Arab countries and busted taxi drivers who attempted to take unreasonable cab fares from the customers.

After some negotiating talks on the fares, the drivers accepted the police officers – who they thought were tourists.

The officers did not only inspect if the drivers were requesting reasonable fees, but also controlled whether they fasten their seat belts, smoke in the vehicle or do not turn on the taximeter. If the officers detected any type of irregularities, they showed their police identification to the drivers and took them to checkpoints.

During the negotiations, a taxi driver requested 50 Euros (about 503 Turkish Liras) as cab fares to take the officers from Taksim to Nişantaşı, while another driver demanded about the same amount to take them from Taksim to Şişli.

The officers imposed different amounts of fines to the drivers who made irregular price negotiations and choose customers and towed away two taxis.

In the meantime, journalist Çiğdem Yılmaz from daily Milliyet accompanied the inspecting officers during their controls. According to her report, the drivers accept the customer if they want to. Some drivers generally look for tourists in Istanbul to “scam” and send Turkish customers away with invalid excuses.

Yılmaz, who took a taxi with a police officer – both disguised as tourists – witnessed that the drivers did not accept many people waiting for taxis, putting their reasoning on traffic.

Between July 17 and Aug. 10, the city’s traffic division imposed a total fine of 706,365 Turkish Liras (more than 70,000 Euros) to 2021 taxis. While the officers inspected a total of 26,232 taxis, they forbid 428 taxis to hit the roads unless they completed what they lacked in abiding by the regulation.

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