The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME) on Nov. 30 approved the decision to introduce new taxis in the megacity. Accordingly, 2,125 mini buses will be turned into taxis.
UKOME previously declined the offer to introduce 5,000 taxis 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.”
The Center rejected the plan to introduce 500 taxis for disabled people.
The decision 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.
Taxi drivers severely lashed out at the municipality's plan saying that "driving taxis is not the municipality's job" as the new taxis would be owned by the municipality.
However, the municipality officials said 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.