Proposal to increase number of cabs in Istanbul rejected once again
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s proposal to roll out 6,000 new taxi licenses has been rejected once again by the decision of the city’s transportation coordination body.
The proposal of the municipality was put on the agenda for the third time at the Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME) meeting held at the Istanbul Congress Center on Nov. 26.
The meeting was attended by members of the municipality, the Istanbul Governor’s Office, and representatives from various ministries and public institutions.
Before the meeting, a discussion between Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and a group of taxi drivers occurred.
A group of taxi drivers, who claimed that they could not attend the meeting, wanted to meet with İmamoğlu at the entrance of the hall where the meeting was held.
Some officials opposed the live broadcast of the meeting, saying it should be held behind closed doors, but İmamoğlu rejected the criticisms and told them that they are free to leave if they do not want to be filmed.
More than 100,000 people watched the meeting on social media, an unprecedented viewing as municipal meetings usually happen behind closed doors.
During the meeting, Eyüp Aksu, the head of a Taxi Drivers’ Association, said the municipality ignored drivers’ view of the plan and criticized the municipality.
Noting that the taxi license owners are uneasy about the plan, Aksu stated that the institution that should evaluate the training and complaints about the taxi drivers is the municipality.
Nurdan Apaydın, a director of Marmaray, an underground railway system connecting the city’s European and Asian sides under the Bosporus Strait, said that taxis in Istanbul operate with 39 percent efficiency.
The proposal was rejected by a majority of votes after a tense meeting that saw strong opposition from the city’s taxi drivers who fear competition.
“The new taxi system demanded by Istanbul was rejected at UKOME [meeting] with the votes given by instructions. This refusal decision does not prevent the proposal from coming again,” İmamoğlu said in a Twitter post he shared.
“We follow our promise to 16 million Istanbul residents and thousands of taxi drivers. The right move will pay off sooner or later,” he added.
Complaints by both locals and foreign visitors regarding the attitude of the cab drivers have been made very frequently.
Drivers preferring foreign tourists over the locals and their behaviors, which has been described from reckless to rude, are the most common complaints made by people.
There are 17,395 licensed taxis operating and new taxi plates have not been on sale since the 1960’s 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, although the province today is the country’s most populous and is among the largest cities in Europe.