Helpful Tips For Taxis in Istanbul

Istanbul Taxi

Avoiding Istanbul Taxi Scams

Istanbul is one of the world’s mega-cities and it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 taxis within its borders. Unfortunately, Istanbul’s taxi drivers have received a bad reputation over the years from travelers. Tourists have complained about being scammed by unscrupulous taxi drivers.

While there are people who have had bad experiences with Istanbul taxis, it is not the norm and using taxis in the city is often a safe way to get from point A to point B. Istanbul taxis are cheap, convenient, and comfortable ways to travel around the large city.
Still, there are stories travelers tell on the Internet about being scammed out of money by drivers. There are ways to avoid Istanbul taxi scams. These tips will prevent you from overpaying when taking a taxi in Istanbul.

Get an official taxi

Perhaps the best way to avoid an Istanbul taxi scam is to take an official taxi. Official Istanbul taxis are yellow and a sign is located on the top of the car with the word “taksi” printed on it. The taxi company’s logo should be clearly marked on the side of the car. In addition, the taxi plate number should also be visible.

Make sure the meter is on

All Istanbul taxis have a digital meter, so do not accept a ride in a taxi if there isn’t one. You should insist that the driver turns on the meter when the journey begins. Some taxi drivers may claim that the meter is broken or offer to drive you for an agreed upon fee. The fee is oftentimes more than the journey would cost according to the meter. You should never accept a ride based on a flat fee nor should you continue on your journey if the meter isn’t running. Get out of the taxi if the meter isn’t running.

Let the hotel book the taxi

One of the best ways to avoid a taxi scam is to have your hotel book the car. You should enquire to the hotel about the price of the fare and what it should cost. If you have a bad experience with the taxi driver or journey, then you may be able to complain to the hotel staff. They may be able to contact the taxi company or someone else that can help you.

Take a picture of the taxi’s license number

Most people carry a smartphone with them these days, yet many don’t think it is necessary to take a photo of their transport in a foreign city. A camera can come in very handy if you are scammed by a local Istanbul taxi. Prior to getting in the car, snap a photo of the license number at the front and rear. Also, get photos of the number on the side of the car and the sign on the roof. This is evidence and it could be used later if you are scammed. If you don’t have a smartphone camera, write down the license number and details on a piece of paper. Photo evidence may work better.

Rates for day and night

A taxi journey will begin with a flat fee appearing on the meter. The price will increase every 400 meters. If the taxi isn’t moving, the price should roughly remain the same. It is important to remember that there are different rates for daytime travel and nighttime travel. The word “gündüz” will appear on the meter screen during the day. At nighttime, the word “gece” will appear on the meter’s screen. The nighttime rate runs between midnight and 6:00 a.m. The nighttime fare rate is 50% more than the daytime fare rate. Some taxi drivers scam travelers by applying the nighttime rate during the day.

Bridge and toll fees

A toll must be paid to cross the Bosphorus bridges and the TEM Highway. The price will be no more than 4TL. The taxi driver will pay the toll fee, but you must pay the fee on top of the total taxi fare at the end of the journey. The taxi driver will add the toll fee onto the journey fare. However, some drivers will rip off travelers by adding too much. You should be aware of the toll fee to prevent being overcharged.

Name and address

Before getting into an Istanbul taxi, you should have the name and address of your destination written on a piece of paper. Business cards for hotels and businesses also work. This prevents the driver from getting lost or trying to take you on a longer ride to increase the journey fare. Most Istanbul taxi drivers do not speak English. It is unlikely that you are fluent in Turkish, so communication can be very difficult.

Use a taxi fare calculator

A taxi fare calculator may enable you to prevent a scam. By using a taxi fare calculator, you can prevent a driver from driving you around on an unnecessary route. Many taxi drivers around the globe use this ploy to increase the fare amount. Drivers will take unnecessary detours. Since you are not from Istanbul, you may not know any better. Therefore, by using the taxi fare calculator, you can determine the actual price the trip should cost.

Tipping isn’t necessary

In many countries, people often tip their taxi driver even if they do not help with luggage. In Istanbul, you do not need to tip taxi drivers unless they go out of their way to help you with your bags. Istanbul taxi drivers do not expect tips. Some taxi drivers will attempt to get every last lira out of you, however. They may claim to be out of small lira and cannot give you change. Stand your ground and tell him to change the money at a shop.

Per person fare

One scam that Istanbul taxi drivers may try is to charge each person in the car the fare on the meter. If more than one person is in the car, the driver will claim that everyone owes the fare. However, the fare is for the entire car and not per person. Make sure the meter is on and that you have your taxi fare calculator handy if this scam is tried.

The Most Common Taxi Scams in Turkey

Taking a cab in major cities, such as Istanbul, which has over 20,000 taxis, may be a cost-effective and handy way to move around. Although the majority of taxi drivers in Turkey are honest and fair, there are a few that would take advantage of unsuspecting travelers whenever the opportunity arises. We’ve put together a comprehensive collection taxi scams and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Extending the Ride

This is a popular tourist scam used in most major towns. The driver can increase the time of both long and small trips by taking a large and unneeded detour. As a tourist, you are likely to have no idea where you are going or how much it will cost.

How to Avoid

If you don’t understand Turkish or are unfamiliar with the region, this might be difficult to avoid. You may use our Taxi Fare Calculator to get an idea of how much it will cost. You may use your smartphone’s maps feature to follow along and get a broad notion of when and where you should be travelling.

The Sneaky Note Swap

The Turkish Lira notes will be exchanged for lesser value notes by a driver. If you give him a 50 TL note for a 25 TL cab journey, he will immediately exchange it for a 5 TL note when you are not looking. He shows you the 5 TL note and asks for the remaining 20 TL from you.

Because you were anticipating change and were unfamiliar with the currency notes, this might quickly cause confusion. You’ve just spent 70 TL for a ride that should have cost 25 TL.

How to Avoid

Make sure you have sufficient of low-denomination notes (5 TL and 10 TL) as well as coins on hand so you can offer the precise amount. If you require change, show the driver your note before handing it to him so that he can produce the necessary change. If at all possible, become acquainted with the currency and take notice of the differences in hue across bills.

No Change

The driver must give you 5-10TL in change. He shows you that he just has a couple of TL in coins, as though he’s attempting to get a little additional money on top of the fare.

How to Avoid

Have the driver replace the note at a store? In most cases, the change emerges out of nowhere. If you don’t want to dispute it, you can just let it go because it’s only a few liras.

An “Agreed” Price

Before getting in the cab, you agree on a fixed fare to your location with the taxi driver. He may inform you that there is a lot of traffic and that it will be a better bargain than waiting in traffic and running up the meter. He may claim that he can save you time by taking a shortcut.
Tragically, you are now at the mercy of the driver’s whim. He can simply adjust the previously “agreed” pricing, and you could find yourself in a scenario where a furious driver is demanding a higher-than-usual sum.

How to Avoid

How to Avoid – Regardless of the circumstances, insist on using the meter. Taximeters are needed by regulation. If the driver refuses or says the meter is “broken,” get out of the vehicle as soon as possible and locate another.

The “Nighttime” Fare

During the day, the taxi driver may set the meter to the “gece” (nighttime) rate, which is costlier. There are no longer any nighttime prices, and all taxis charge the same fee regardless of the time of day.

How to Avoid

Make sure the meter says “gündüz” to avoid this (daytime). If you do not notice this, speak up, exit the cab, and look for a new one.