Uber halts minivan service in Istanbul

Uber halts minivan service in Istanbul

Uber halts minivan service in Istanbul

Ride-hailing company Uber has decided to stop its XL service in Istanbul to ease tensions with taxi drivers in a months-long dispute.

“We would like to announce that unfortunately we had to decide to stop UberXL activities in Istanbul as of May 31,” the company said in a statement on May 31.

“Uber wants to be a long-term business partner with Turkey. We will continue serving passengers with yellow taxi and turquoise taxi products. As Uber, we keep our commitment to Turkey. We want to work with the government of the Republic of Turkey and the relevant local stakeholders,” it added.

The Uber application has been downloaded by some 4 million users since 2014, and the number of UberXL drivers using minivans has risen to 12,000, according to the statement.

Some Uber minivan drivers organized a rally to protest the decision on May 31 in Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square chanting slogans such as, “People want Uber, the people’s will cannot be ignored.”

Some “10,000 people have lost their jobs. This should be taken into consideration,” said a taxi driver, who stressed that a regulation should have been made since 2014.

Taxi drivers welcome decision

After a series of violent confrontations between the yellow taxi drivers and Uber drivers, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had intervened in June last year, heralding “an end” to Uber in Turkey.

Eyüp Aksu, head of a taxi drivers association in Istanbul, hailed the decision.

“We have been pursuing a decisive legal struggle against the global taxi piracy which has no contribution to the national economy,” he said, referring to the ongoing case in an Istanbul court.

Fahrettin Can, head of the Istanbul Airport Taxi Drivers Cooperative, also welcomed the decision, while uttering some doubts.

“Uber has retreated but it can come back tomorrow, or another company can operate via an application or calling systems,” he told reporters on June 1.

“Thus, we want them to be wiped out through laws. Pirate taxi transportation should be eliminated 100 percent through laws,” he added.