Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), announced on Jan. 16 that 2,125 new taxis were introduced in the megacity.
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME) on Nov. 30 approved the decision to introduce new taxis, after declining it 11 times. The Center includes representatives from the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry, which the opposition-run Municipality officials accused of aiming to “destroy and bankrupt the Municipality.”
“New 2,125 taxis are in service. We will continue to fight for more taxis and better quality service,” İmamoğlu said in a tweet.
Yeni 2 bin 125 taksi hizmette. Daha çok taksi ve daha kaliteli hizmet için mücadeleye devam edeceğiz.pic.twitter.com/MhTkOTqEtq— Ekrem İmamoğlu (@ekrem_imamoglu) January 16, 2023
The move comes amid Istanbul's ever-growing taxi problem. While it has become practically impossible to find a taxi when needed due to their number being so low, especially after the pandemic, drivers often make headlines for rejecting customers in a bid to find others that they can charge more. When customers react and say that they don't have the right to choose, drivers tend to get infuriated and start insulting them.
Overcharging is another problem, with drivers taking more money from customers, often non-Turkish speakers, than they should.
The municipality argued that the number of taxi licenses has been 17,359 for 30 years without ever changing and it is simply not sufficient to serve the megacity, home to 16 million people.