Serkan Alan / DUVAR
Private minibus and bus drivers in Ankara have stopped services and protested against back-to-back price hikes in fuel.
Hundreds of drivers of the privately-owned buses and minibuses in the capital have stopped their services and gathered outside the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality on March 10, demanding to speak with Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş.
The drivers said the costs arising from high fuel prices were outpacing their incomes. They also said they were unable to pay for their vehicles’ maintenance costs.
“Until the problem is solved, I will not turn on the ignition of my vehicle. We have no strength left anymore. We know people are being impacted by this, but so are we. If they don’t hear us out, I will not put my car out on the roads,” said Hacı Kıvanç, the driver of a privately-owned public bus.
“We have been crushed under the price hikes in fuel and no one is hearing us,” he added.
“For many years, we have never seen anything like this. The money we make a day does not keep up with the fuel the car uses up,” said Mehmet Alkan, a minibus driver.
Turkey was planning to increase fuel prices for a seventh day in a row on March 10, but canceled the decision.
Fuel prices surged on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Turkey relies heavily on energy imports and wrestles with exchange rate volatility, exacerbating the costs for the bus drivers, who are demanding a hike in bus fares.
The bus drivers demand the fares be hiked up to 10 liras per ride, from 5 liras.
A municipal council member, Adnan Bekar, from the opposition (İYİ) Party said there has been a 300 percent increase in the price of fuel.
“The Ankara Metropolitan Municipality has tried its best not to increase prices. Of course, the municipality not raising prices is putting business owners in a difficult position. The municipality can no longer carry this burden either,” he added.
The municipality is set to hold a meeting regarding the issue on March 10.
(English version by Nihan Kalle)