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  1. If you know you're being scammed by a taxi driver, you can tell him to take you to the nearest police station to let them sort out the dispute. If he won't take you (and he probably won't), tell him that you have his taxi number and will go to the police and file a complaint. Besides becoming the focus of an investigation, this will also cost him time sitting in the police station and having his taxi meter inspected. Don't assume that the police won't be interested. One tourist reported that the police in Istanbul were rather grateful for the report, since the Istanbul municipal government was as fed up with taxi scams as the tourists were. Besides the police, you can also report taxi drivers at the places listed below. Istanbul Taxi Complaints Toplu Ulaşım Hizmetleri Müdürlüğü Beylerbeyi Caddesi No: 4 Edirnekapi Istanbul +90 (212) 453 7878 Turkey Taxi Complaints Association of Taxi Drivers: Each province in Turkey should have a local chapter of the association of taxi drivers. Get the contact information from one of the taxi stands. Transportation Department: Found in each Turkish province, this organization mostly deals with taxi stands. For taxi meter scams, file a "complaint check" request to the local Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology in your province. You will need to fill out a form, and the ministry will check the meter. If it is found to be faulty, they will start legal actions against the driver. Unfortunately, the check has to be paid for by the complainant, so ask if the ministry will do this as part of their regular inspection services. See Also Taxi Scams: A guide to the various scams employed by Turkish taxi drivers. Ken Grubb As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.
  2. Taxi scams happen everywhere in the world. And generally, taxi drivers in Istanbul and the rest of Turkey aren't any more dishonest than anybody else. And in most parts of Turkey you will have no problems at all with taxi drivers. But some taxi drivers, especially around tourist areas in Istanbul and other touristy towns, will try to cheat you using various scams (sometimes more than one, and even during the same trip!). They are especially effective when you're tired from a long trip, not paying attention, and don't want any hassles. General Advice You can actually get around to most places in Turkish cities without taking a taxi. The public transportation system in Istanbul and most other cities in Turkey is first-rate, considerably cheaper, and often faster. Take a dolmuş, the city bus, a tram, the metro, or even a ferry instead. Istanbul and other large cities have airport transfer buses which will get you from the airport into town for around 20 TL. Take a photo of every taxi or write down it's number before you get in. Taxis have identification numbers on the license plates, on the sides, and even on the top. If you have to make a complaint or forget something, you'll be able to positively identify which taxi you were in. Have some smaller bills and coins to pay the exact fare. If you don't, ask the driver if he can change the bill that you have before you get in. It's best to have your hotel call a taxi for you. The more reputable hotels only do business with certain taxi stands, and the hotel clerk can also help settle any disputes you may have. After you arrive at your destination, get yourself and your luggage out of the taxi before even starting to deal with the fare. Fare Payment Scams Switching the Money This is probably the most common taxi scam. You hand the driver a 50-lira note. He switches it with a five-lira note, and then swears on his mother's grave that you gave him five lira instead of 50. What he'll switch your 50-lira note with is an older, but still in circulation, five-lira note which resembles a 50-Turkish-lira note. Hiding the Money You pay the driver four 20 Lira notes. He hides one and says you only gave him three. To counter these scams, hold up the money so both you and the driver can see it. Say something like "I am giving you 50 Lira." Make him acknowledge it. Don't give him the money until he has the change in his hand and is ready to give it to you. Make the exchange of your money and his change at the same time. "I don't Have Change." The driver owes you five lira in change, but produces only one lira, expecting you to accept that and let him drive away with four lira extra. If a driver tries this anywhere near a business, tell him you will wait for him to go get some change. Usually that will cause him to find more change. Asking for More Money or a Tip At the end of a taxi ride, having nothing else to lose, the driver may try to get even more money out of you. It is not customary to tip a taxi driver in Turkey. It is a routine thing to round up the fare a few lira (never more than five, and five is considered generous). But that is all. The only time you might tip a taxi driver is if he helps you with heavy baggage. In that case you might want to give a five-lira tip if he puts it on the curb, perhaps ten if he carries it inside a building for you. In fact, most taxi drivers will also round the fare down if it's within one or two lira. Refuse any requests for tips unless you want to give one. The Run-around All over the world, this is the oldest one in the book. The taxi driver will take you the long way, or in circles, to make the trip as long as possible and charge you as much as possible. Sometimes this isn't an effort to cheat you, but an effort to avoid traffic, construction, and one-way streets. Unfortunately there isn't any way to know this in advance. One way to avoid this scam is to know the typical fare from one place to another, so you know the approximate fare in advance. You can find links to the typical taxi fares from and to various places in Istanbul and Turkey in the External Links section below. Fixed Rate Scams Short Trips If the driver is offering you a fixed rate which would ordinarily be covered by the meter. He may be offering you a deal, or he may not be. For routine trips within the city, insist that the driver run the meter, and make sure he turns it on. If he says it is broken, then don't go with him. Offering a fixed price for what should be a routine, short trip is a good sign that the driver is trying to scam you. Longer Trips and Tours You should only take a taxi off-meter for trips to nearby out-of-town tourist sites. These routes will have regular prices posted on a sign at the taxi stand or in the taxi itself. In this case, a taxi can actually be a better option if you have a small group and consider the cost of a rental car, petrol, and the hassle involved otherwise. In fact, the taxi drivers will even wait for you while you explore a local sight, then bring you back to city center when you're finished. Late at Night Another time a fixed rate might benefit you is for a long trip within the city, at night when most taxi drivers are just sitting around waiting and hoping for a customer. If you already know the meter price from previous trips, you can bargain the price down for a fixed rate. If a driver refuses, walk off to find another taxi. After you take ten steps or so, he will probably change his mind and call you back, then give you a discounted fare. Taxi Meter Scams The Too-fast Meter Some tourists in Istanbul have reported encountering taxis with meters which click off the fare much faster than normal. Unfortunately we haven't been able to verify if this is true or not, but here's some information on how fast the meter should run (Istanbul prices show below): When the taxi driver turns it on, it should flash as if it is re-setting. The starting, or "flat" rate will display. In Istanbul (as of this writing) that's 2.95 TL. Every kilometer the meter should add 1.83 TL. Sitting in traffic or waiting, the meter should add .30 TL per minute. If you think the meter is running too fast, it probably is. About the only thing you can do is tell the taxi driver to let you out at the next intersection or taxi stand. Of course he will insist that it is a standard meter and that he has won awards for his honesty and religious piety, but get out anyway and get another taxi. While you're at it, get his taxi number and report him. More on that later. The Secret Button The taxi meter clicks off at its normal rate. But just as you are about to reach your destination, the driver reaches down and pushes a button which suddenly adds 20 TL or more to the fare. It is perfectly acceptable to sit in the front passenger seat of a taxi in Turkey. By doing so, you can keep an eye on the driver and the meter. Check the meter every few minutes, and especially as you near your destination. It's a lot more difficult for the driver to reach over and push the button undetected if you're sitting right next to him. Illegal Taxis Some people use their personal cars as taxis. They will offer to take you somewhere for less money than a taxi. Besides being illegal, you will have no idea who or what the driver is and where you will actually be taken. If the driver was qualified to be taxi drivers, he would be in a legal taxi. A legal taxi is yellow, with a yellow lighted sign on top reading "taksi." Besides the registration numbers on the license plates, sides, and roof, it will also have a painted logo on the doors which identifies it with a particular taxi stand. If it doesn't have all of these characteristics, don't get in. "I Know a Great Bar" Don't let a taxi driver take you to any bar he recommends. Another common scam (directed at single males) is to invite you to a bar where you will be charged exorbitant amounts for drinks. You won't be allowed to leave until you pay, and you will likely be taken to a back room and threatened, or frog-marched to the nearest automatic bank machine and forced to withdraw hundreds of lira to pay the bill. This is the same same used by Turkish men walking along the street, a scam directed normally to single male travelers. The Luggage Grab A man grabs your luggage at the airport and hurries off with you in chase, then puts it in to the trunk of a taxi that you didn't ask for. You go because he has your luggage. Instead of the hotel, he takes you to a bar for the experience described in the previous paragraph. Keep a close eye on your luggage at the transportation hubs. If somebody grabs it and walks off, taxi driver or not, make lots of noise and point to the person taking your luggage. Hopefully others will intervene and get your luggage back before it's too late. See Also Travel, Tours and Activities Forum Taxis in Turkey: About Turkish taxis in general. External Links Numbeo: Taxi Rates in Turkey Taksile: Taxi Rate Calculator: For Istanbul and other major cities in Turkey. Ken Grubb As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.
  3. Taxis are cheap and plentiful in Turkey. They are usually compact cars or mini-vans which carry three to four passengers (two or three in the back, one in the front passenger seat). The larger mini-vans have a cargo compartment in the back, which provides more luggage space than the regular cars do. Since taxis in some cities (like Istanbul) are fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) cylinders in the trunk (boot), this limits their cargo space, making the larger mini-vans a better choice if you have luggage. Practically all taxis in Turkey are air-conditioned. Turkish taxis are always yellow, with a lighted sign on the top which reads taksi. Their identification numbers are on the front and back license plates, on the sides, and on the roof. Before using a taxi, consider other forms of public transportation first, such as a dolmuş, city bus, ferry, metro, or tram. These are not only cheaper, but can get you there faster depending on traffic and the distance of your destination. Taking a Taxi Besides simply walking up to one or waiving one down, you can also call the local taxi stand and have a taxi come and pick you up. There may also be taxi "call buttons" strategically placed near popular locations, just press the button and wait. Take a photo of the taxi with your smart phone or camera, or write down the taxi number. If later the driver cheats you, takes off with luggage, or you forget something, you'll be able to find the exact taxi you were in. Turkish Taxi Drivers The vast majority of taxi drivers in Turkey are honest, hard-working people who will not cheat you. Some will actually go out of their way to make sure you get where you're going. Unfortunately, some taxi drivers are crooks, and will pull various scams on their passengers. This predominately happens in Istanbul, especially in the very touristy Sultanahmet district. While you are likely to have no problems with taxi drivers during your visit, you should familiarize yourself with how taxi scams work. Taxi Driving Taxi rides and Turkey sometimes border on the scary, with drivers racing to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. To ask the driver to slow down, say "yavaş!" (yah-vahsh). He will probably reply by saying what a good driver he is and not to worry. Don't be afraid to insist that he slow down, or tell him to let you off where you can get another taxi. He will likely slow down then! The Taxi Meter By law, when your trip starts, the taxi driver must start the taksimetre (tahk-see-meh-treh). Insist that he does. Numerous incidents of taxi scams have been reported (mostly in Istanbul) concerning the driver "forgetting" to turn on the meter, or offering a verbal price to take travelers to a routine destination that they would ordinarily use the taxi meter for. You will likely be over-charged, so insist that he use the taxi meter for trips inside the city. When the taxi meter starts, it should blink and display the fare like this: Starting fare: 2.95 TL Every Kilometer: 1.83 TL Waiting in Traffic: .30 TL per minute 1 This varies by city, but the above is a basic guide for what to expect. Keep an eye on the taxi meter Some taxi drivers have a switch that they flip which will make the fare jump higher. They usually do this near the end of the trip. The only time a taxi is not required to run the taxi meter is when the destination is far, or to a local tourist site outside of town. For these popular destinations, a set trip price will be posted on a sign or placard at the taxi stand and/or inside the taxi. For other long trips, the first price quote will probably be a high one, so you can bargain for a lower one. If the taxi driver won't budge, just say you will find another taxi and walk away. He will likely call you back, since he knows another taxi driver will probably accept that price. Paying Taxis in Turkey accept cash, although some have credit card machines as well. Pay at the end of the trip. Don't pay until you and all of your luggage is out of the taxi. Warning: Especially in Istanbul, a popular scam is money-switching. Typically it involves hiding the 50-lira note you gave him and replacing it a five-lira note, since they look similar. The driver will then insist that you gave him five lira instead of 50. In another scam, if you pay with several of the same denomination of note, the driver will hide one and insist you gave him less than you actually did. So when you pay, hold up the money you are using where both of you can see it. Say "I am paying you 50 lira." Make him say it too. Only hand him the money at the same time he is handing the change to you. Tipping It is not customary to tip a taxi driver unless he carries heavy baggage or does something for you besides driving. It is customary to round up the fare if it's within one lira. You will also find that taxi drivers also round down. For example, if the fare is 20.75 Lira, they will usually accept a 20 TL note. Or you can give him 21 TL. See Also Taxi Scams in Turkey: Learn about the common scams perpetrated by taxi drivers in Turkey. External Links Numbeo: This international cost-of-living website also has taxi rates in Turkey Taksile: Taxi Rate Calculator: For Istanbul and other major cities in Turkey. Ken Grubb As a special investigator for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and teacher for the University of Maryland, Ken Grubb has lived and worked in Turkey since 1997. He now lives in Antalya, where he researches and writes guides to help others live skillfully in Turkey.
  4. I spent a week in Istanbul & it was a good tour & i really liked the city but one thing that really made me feel bad about the city was taxi drivers and the way they try to cheat the tourist. I had such a bad experience of istanbul taxi rides that i will never want to go to that city or country again. I took a ride in a taxi with my girl friend the taxi driver asked for 75 turkish lira i didnt had the change so i gave him 200 turkish lira note, somehow he swap (changed) the note & hand me over 20 lira note that i gave him only 20. I know i gave him 200 lira my girl friend saw i gave him 200 lira but he started to argue that it was 20. Than he started pretending he doesnt even understand a single english word or what we are talking about. So in the end we paid him but this incident really had a very negative impact of the turkey. My advice to all tourists who want to travel to turkey to be very vigilant and be careful while travelling through taxi.
  5. Taxis also accumulate at Side's main, but small, bus station, just inside the inner city wall of Side.
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