5 Aralık 2013 Perşembe


Taking a taxi (taksi) in Istanbul is easy. But with 20.000 taxis driving around town, only a fool would believe all drivers are honest. Luckily most of them are indeed fair, but there are a rising amount of cases where tourists get hustled while taking a taxi ride in Istanbul. We recommend you simply book from private shuttle for your airport transfers which is always safe and cheap.

Day & Night Rates – Upon entering the taxi, a flat or starting rate will appear. After that, the rate will increment every 400 meters. Check out the current cab rates and taxi fares between popular Istanbul tourist destinations here. When the taxi is not moving (at traffic lights or while being stuck in traffic), the fare should remain more or less the same! During the day, the word gündüz should appear onscreen at regular intervals. At night (between midnight and 6 am), the word gece will appear. Since the night-rate is 50% higher than the day-rate, make sure the gündüz rate is applied when appropriate! This too is a popular tourist scam.

  • Bridge or Highway Toll – In case you take a taxi to cross either of the Bosphorus bridges or drive on the TEM highway, toll (not more than TL 4) has to be paid. The taxi driver will pay that for you, but will add this to the fare.

  • No Tipping – Unless the taxi driver helped you load and unload your luggage, he won’t expect a tip. If you’re happy with his performance, you can roundup the fare to the nearest convenient figure. Some taxi drivers may claim to be out of small money, hence try to make a few extra liras. Just stand your ground and make him go change the money somewhere if you feel he’s deceitful.

  • Say What? – Most taxi drivers speak very little to no English at all. Having said that, chances are that your knowledge of Turkish is similar to his English skills. It’s therefore not a bad idea to have the exact name and street of your destination written down on a piece of paper.

  • Seemingly Lost – Taxi drivers are not too streetwise. And in their defense, Istanbul is a giant city and expecting taxi drivers to know every single street by heart is unfair. It is therefore not unusual that taxi drivers are unfamiliar with the exact location of lesser known places. You may find him ask you, other drivers or pedestrians along the way. If you have a phone number on your destination, he’ll be glad to call them for precise directions.

  • Unsafe Driving – Time is money. It’s a cliché, but it’s still very true for Istanbul’s taxi drivers. They may take alternative (and a tad longer and more expensive) roads when the main roads are congested. That’s perfectly fine and will benefit both parties. What they shouldn’t do though is race through the narrow streets. If at any time you feel unsafe, you tell the driver yavaş gidin (’yavash gidin’ pronounced) or just daha yavaş lütfen. Both mean more or less the same and order him to slow down. If he doesn’t obey your wishes, just get out at the first occasion that arises.

Here are the most popular Istanbul taxi scams, and how you can prevent them from happening to you.

Making the Taxi Ride Longer

Scam — This a very common trick pulled on tourist by taxi drivers all over the world, and Istanbul is no exception to the rule. As a tourist you don’t know the shortest way to your destination, so the taxi driver can easily make an extra tour around the block and spice up the bill. In case the tourist does know the way, he’ll come up with the excuse that there is a massive traffic jam on the usual route.
Solution — If you are indeed unfamiliar with the roads and/or don’t speak Turkish, there is unfortunately very little you can do to tell him what route to take. That’s why we came up with giving you an overview of Istanbul taxi fares to the most common tourist destinations. This will give you a nice indication on when to start arguing with the taxi driver and cut the bill he presents you.
The Turkish Lira Note Switch

Scam — For arguments sake, let’s assume the fare is 15 TL and you hand him a 50 TL note. Out of sight he switches the note with a 5 TL note he has ready, shows it to you and waits for you to hand him the ‘remaining’ 10 TL note. Where you expected to get change, you’re confused (since you’re not familiar with the money) and end up paying 60 TL for a 15 TL drive.
Solution — Always make sure you have plenty of small bank notes and even coins on you for taxi rides so you can hand the taxi driver the exact amount due. In case you do have to hand a bigger note and expect change, double check the value of the note before you hand it to the driver. Also, tipping a taxi driver is not a Turkish custom unless he helped you with (un)loading your luggage.
I Have No Change

Scam — Again, let’s assume the fair is 16 TL and you hand him a 20 TL bill. The driver seemingly looks a bit around in his cab. After a minute he comes up with only 1 TL in change, claiming he ran out of coins. This way he tries to ‘earn’ another 3 TL.
Solution — You have two options. If it’s only a few Turkish Liras, you can just let it go. Or, what I mostly do, just sit in the car and tell him to go change the note in a shop. You’d be surprised how quickly they all of a sudden come up with the exact change.
A Fixed Price Instead of Using The Meter

Scam — The driver suggests to agree on a price for the ride to your destination instead of using the taxi meter. He’ll argue you’re better off this way, because there is a lot of traffic, he’ll take a short cut and you’ll pay less. Why would he want to be so kind to you? He isn’t!
Solution — Always insist to use the meter! If he doesn’t want to use the meter, or even worse doesn’t have one, refuse the ride, get out and flag down another taxi. The same goes in case he claims half way the ride the meter breaks down. Just make him stop next to a police car, and get out. He won’t argue with you, trust me.
Taxi, Taxi? Follow Me!

Scam — There are about 19.000 official and licensed taxi drivers in Istanbul. Unfortunately, there are at least a similar amount of illegal, unlicensed or private taxi drivers. Some may offer better rates, the majority doesn’t!
Solution — Only take official taxis. Istanbul taxis are yellow, have a taksi sign on the roof, have a meter built in (newer ones have them integrated in the mirror) and show their affiliation with a taxi stand, airport, hotel, etc. painted on their doors. You can have the hotel call one for you, look for them at taxi stands or just flag them down on the street.
Night Versus Daytime

Scam — The taxi driver puts the taxi meter on night time (gece) during the day, or during the night. Either way, it’s not correct because the night time/daytime difference has been abolished!
Solution — Make sure the meter is always set to daytime (gündüz). These words should appear on the meter display at regular intervals. For the new, mirror integrated meters, the daytime code to look for is ’1′.

Unsafe Driving

This is not a scam, but some Istanbul taxi drivers think the city is one giant race track. Sure, they are very experienced drivers and want to serve as much customers in a day as possible. If you ever start feeling unsafe, just tell the driver yavaş (yavash), which means as much as ‘slow down’. Just repeat the word until the driver reaches a speed you feel comfortable with. If he doesn’t comply, just get out at the first opportunity you have.

Just like everywhere else in the world, some Istanbul taxi drivers have several tricks up their sleeve to hustle unaware tourists. The most common practice is to extend the travel duration by making (huge) unnecessary detours. And since you’re not an Istanbulite, they’re pretty confident that you wouldn’t notice — and you won’t! But with this list of Istanbul taxi fares from Taksim and Sultanahmet to the most common tourist destinations, you are sure to pay the correct cab fare!


Istanbul Taxi Flat Rate and Increments

  • When you enter the taxi, the driver will activate the meter. The display should read 2.95 TL — the current flat rate.
  • This fare is incremented with approximately 1,83 TL every kilometer.
  • If a taxi gets caught up in traffic and doesn’t move or has to wait on your behalf for over 1 minutes, 0.30 TL will be added.
  • There used to be a night and day rate, but that has been abolished. Don’t let him tell you different!

Taxi Fares from the Atatürk International Airport (and vice versa)

  • to Sultanahmet — 40 TL
  • to Taksim — 49 TL

Taxi Fares from the Sahiba Gökçen Airport (and vice versa)

Taxi Fares from Sultanahmet (and vice versa)

  • to Akmerkez Shopping Mall — 25 TL
  • to Bebek — 30 TL
  • to Beşiktaş — 19 TL
  • to BuzAda — 27 TL
  • to Cehavir Shopping Mall — 16 TL
  • to Dolmabahçe Palace — 14 TL
  • to Fatih — 11 TL
  • to Galata Tower — 14 TL
  • to İstiniye Park Shopping Mall — 32 TL
  • to Kadıköy — 42 TL
  • to Kanyon Shopping Mall — 23 TL
  • to Metrocity Shopping Mall — 23 TL
  • to Nişantaşı – 18 TL
  • to Ortaköy — 23 TL
  • to Pierre Loti Cafe – 18 TL
  • to Reina — 25 TL
  • to Rumeli Hisarı — 34 TL
  • to Taksim — 12 TL
  • to Yıldız Park — 21 TL

Taxi Fares from Taksim (and vice versa)

  • to Akmerkez Shopping Mall — 19 TL
  • to Bebek — 23 TL
  • to Beşiktaş — 8 TL
  • to BuzAda — 18 TL
  • to Cehavir Shopping Mall — 10 TL
  • to Dolmabahçe Palace — 7 TL
  • to Fatih — 13 TL
  • to Galata Tower — 11 TL
  • to İstiniye Park Shopping Mall — 29 TL
  • to Kadıköy — 36 TL
  • to Kanyon Shopping Mall — 20 TL
  • to Metrocity Shopping Mall — 20 TL
  • to Nişantaşı – 8 TL
  • to Ortaköy — 16 TL
  • to Pierre Loti — 36 TL
  • to Reina — 16 TL
  • to Rumeli Hisarı — 21 TL
  • to Sultanahmet — 12 TL
  • to Yıldız Park — 12 TL

Please Use Common Sense

  • Print or copy this list prior to your departure for Istanbul. You may not be able to browse this site while you’re in the taxi.
  • These fares are indications based on rides I took myself. They are correct and up-to-date, but Istanbul road conditions change every day. Don’t argue with your driver or call for the police unless the meter shows a significant deviation from the fare mentioned here. 
          by Erlend Geerts
          in Practical Information

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