Local authorities in Turkish metropolis make critical move over taxi crisis
A row over taxis in Istanbul that has been going on for nearly two years has turned to a critical point after a practice that local officials promised to bring to life: A 1986-dated decision that stipulated that taxi licenses should be given to those who make a living only from driving.
The condition of “profession” will be sought in the sale process in line with the commercial license plates to be given to the taxis, according to a statement of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, which reminded a decree from 1986 of the Council of Ministers.
The people who want to buy or take over a taxi plate will have to prove that their only source of income would be driving, according to this decision which also obliges the requirement to seek the approval of a relevant official institution.
A commission will be established with the participation of all public institutions and chambers in line with the relevant decree. This commission will check whether the taxi plate owners comply with the conditions and it will be able to suspend the licenses if they do not.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, Eyüp Aksu, chairman of the Istanbul Taxi Chamber of Tradesmen, claimed that the practice of the municipality was against the law, vowing that the issue would be referred to the judicial organs.
“The mayor is trying to create chaos. We do not accept this,” Aksu noted.
Istanbul residents recently complained that the number of taxis in the city was inadequate, taxis were uncomfortable and that drivers were rude, but the main grumble related with drivers was not accepting short-distance rides or picking tourists over locals.
There are 17,395 licensed taxis operating, and new taxi plates have not been on sale since the 1960s with the exception of provisionary decisions in Istanbul, meaning the number of taxis on Istanbul’s roads had not changed in over half a century.
According to the municipality, the only way to solve the taxi problem in the metropolis with more than 16 million population is to boost the number of taxis, but this proposal is being opposed by taxi associations.
The proposal of the local authority to roll out new taxi licenses has been rejected several times by the decision of the Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME), where representatives from various ministries and public institutions are in the majority.