Istanbul Municipality receives thousands of complaints about taxi drivers being picky with passengers

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) announced that people in the first six months of 2023 complained about taxi drivers in the megacity 18,079 times for being picky with the route and passengers, while the total number of complaints was 33,878.

Duvar English

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's (İBB) Directorate of Public Transportation Services (TUDES) has found that passengers complained most often about taxi drivers in the megacity not “liking destinations and passengers” after analyzing complaints made to the municipality’s hotline. 

In the first six months of 2023, people made 33,878 complaints about taxis, 18,079 of which were about "being picky about the route and passenger." The highest number of complaints about taxi drivers took place in May and June, beginning of the tourism season for Turkey.

According to the TUDES data since January 2023, other most prevalent complaint is related to traffic violations, with a total of 3,644 reported cases. Overcharging follows closely behind with 3,026 complaints, indicating a significant problem in fare transparency. Additionally, a substantial number of passengers reported experiencing rude treatment, with 3,415 complaints filed. 

Other issues include drivers taking travelers on longer routes (1,386 complaints), refusing to pick up passengers for short distances (1,290 complaints), and failing to open the meter (712 complaints), battery and harassment (652 complaints). 

People in 2022, made 80,288 complaints about taxis and the most complained issue that year was also "being picky about the route and passenger" with 47,757 applications. In 2022, the TUDES Field Inspection teams fined taxi drivers over 7,500,000 Turkish liras, mostly as parking tickets.

There are 45,786 drivers registered in 18,773 taxis in the megacity. Although the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has long said that Istanbul is in a bad situation in terms of the number of people per taxi, there is a bottleneck in solving the taxi problem in the megacity.

The number of taxis in Istanbul has not changed since 1990. When the number of taxis was low and demand was high, taxi license plate prices rose rapidly. Today, the value of an average taxi license plate in Istanbul is 2.3 million liras. Most of the taxis are in the hands of few dealers. 

The proposal to introduce additional taxis has been brought before the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME) multiple times, with İBB emphasizing the necessity for the increased number of taxis. However, each time the proposal has been met with resistance due to pressure from both the Istanbul Chamber of Taxi Tradesmen and the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry.

The UKOME in 2022 only agreed to convert 2,125 surplus minibuses operating across the city into taxis.