10 Ways to deal with Istanbul cab-taxi drivers

1) If you are taking cab from your hotel, you can ask your receptionist to call one for you instead of taking one from the street. There are cab firms in every neighborhood, they might be 3-4 Usd more pricey to use (because they start their taximeter right after they leave the firm and coming towards you), but since they know the neighborhood, your receptionist also know them. They would be more trustworthy and professional not to loose permanent customers like hotels.

 2) If you are taking cab from a house, same thing again, call the cab firm in your neighborhood. If you don’t know their number you can use the website www.onlinetaksi.com

And check for your region name. You can see the list of taxi firms. After you can simply ask in Turkish Taksi var mı( Taxi war maah?) If they say ‘var’(war) in this case you can say ‘address’ and read the address and ask ‘ok?’. If he responds okay that means they have a cab and understood the address and sending you one. If he says ‘yok’(yolq) that means there is no taxis available at that time, say ‘thank you’ and hang up.

3) If you have internet in your smart phone you can download the application ‘BiTaksi’. This application can be used in English as well; when it indicates your position on the map you can click on ‘request BiTaksi’ and call the cabs if there are available around. (Only check if it shows you at the right spot sometimes it may indicate one street up or down) You can see on the man icon a number showing estimated time of arrival in minutes. It only shows the taxis with 10 minutes drive distance. When the driver accepts your call, you can see him driving and coming from the map. When it arrives you can recognize your cab from the license number which is shown in the application. Another good thing to use Bitaksi, as well ass cash you can use credit card or paypal for payment. If no one accepts your BiTaksi request (may happen in peak hours) send the request again.

4) If you are taking a cab from the street, before getting on ask the driver if he wants to go the place you are requesting and ask how much it would cost. Do not forget to be specific about the place you want to go. There are several places in Istanbul with the same region names. You can show him the address detailly instead of giving him a roughly idea. So before he works the taximeter you can negotiate and decide if this price is also okay for you.  Because sometimes, when they work the taximeter, they may take the longer route and get you stuck in traffic instead of taking you directly the spot you requested. If you negotiate at the beginning, you may pay 3-4 Usd a bit more but he will get you there as soon as possible. Do not give the money until you arrive to the destination.

5) If you are going for a short distance place, instead of the taxi groups waiting on the line at the beginning of streets, you can try to stop one passing from the street. These taxi lines are paying landing fee, that’s why they are not very willing to work for short distances. It is the key to ask them before get on the cab, so you both have opportunity to think and decide.

6) If the driver is getting aggressive, just walk away. Do not try to communicate or explain yourself. Barbarians are everywhere but it doesn’t mean you have to take a ride with them.

7) Always try to give small bill to taxi drivers. The rest of the money should not be higher than your actual payment. (For example if you have to pay 80TL you can pay 100TL, but if you have to pay 20TL it is not a good idea to give 100TL) If you don’t have any small bills, make sure you break it from somewhere trustworthy before you get on the cab. Some of the drivers also take Usd and Euros, ask them if they accept it. If you are going to give Usd or Euros, try to give smallest bill you have so they don’t have to exchange the rest. Taxi drivers are not a good place to exchange money. You may use changing offices or banks to do that. For money exchange you can check my previous blog: https://www.choratravel.com/turkish-currency-exchange-money-in-turkey

8) If you need to take a taxi during the day, you can choose any time except 15:00. At 15:00 the driver of the day and night switches, that’s why cab drivers always in hurry and do not accept clients.

9) If you know which direction to go, try to catch a cab from that part of the road to avoid giving the feeling to cab driver that you don’t know where you go. I am not saying all the cab drivers will take the advantage of that, here we are trying to minimize the risks against any kind of frauds. If you can’t find the taxi at that side of the road, when you get on the cab, indicate the direction by pointing to driver, so he can take the next U turn.

10) If you take a good service from the cab driver, you may also tip them to %10-%15. Be careful not to forget any belongings when you finish.

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