Most taxi drivers are scrupulously honest, but the occasional one will see a lost looking obviously foreign person at the side of the road and will try to diddle you.
SO as you get in take a look at the meter, it will alternately flick from the fare to one of two words, GUNDUZ or GECE, day or night. Yes, you've guessed it , the driver may "accidentally" switched on the night rate long before the midnight switchover. If so, point out his "error". Hopefully he will be very apologetic and switch it back !!!!! If he refuses, muttering "tourist police" to him may well do the trick. If all else fails get out of the cab as soon as you can and offer him what you think the fare should be,(about half what is showing on the GECE meter). Then take another cab to your destination.
To get a taxi in Istanbul is cheap if you are more than 1 person because you pay for the way and not for a person.
Some of the taxi drivers will try to get an easy money because you are a tourist.
If you want to get a taxi ask him for a meter and if it is before midnight check for the word GUNDUZ which means daytime and after midnight you should see the word GECE which means night (it is higher price)
There are a lot of taxis in Istanbul so if a taxi driver tells you he will take for a sum of money higher than 2-3 YTL leave him and find another taxi because even if he will start a meter he probably will take you in a longer way.
I thought it was just one dishonest driver, but then it happened in three different taxies in the same day.
Here's how it works: you hand the driver a 10 million lira note, he immediately hands you back a 1 million note, saying that you only gave him one million. Or you hand him a 20 million note, and he hands back a 250,000. There are so many zeroes on the notes that it's easy to get confused, and the cabbies are counting on this.
The best thing to do is carry small bills, count out your money carefully, and if they try to screw you over, threaten to call the tourist police. They will back down.
There are a lot of good honest cabbies, but plenty of crooks, too.
...and we won't be the last to be scammed by an Istanbul taxi driver but being ripped off leaves a nasty taste and if our experience can act as a warning to anyone else, well maybe it was worth it.
Basically, we were mugs. Our time in Istanbul was fairly short, we were leaving the next day, and there were several places we wanted to go that were rather out of the way so we decided to get a taxi to take us from one to the next to the next and so on, three hours or so. We knew it would cost us, but the taxi was metered, there were 3 of us, we'd done it before in Rome and Palermo last year, and it had worked well. So off we set, and we had a great time, saw all the places we'd set out to see and finished up near the Spice Market as we wanted to see the Rustem Mosque and then walk back to our hotel.
The meter showed a hefty price but we'd expected that so MrL handed over the money - that was when it all went pear-shaped. MrL gave him the notes from his wallet, a mix of denominations, he counted them and said: "No, this is wrong" and showed us 3 5TL notes among them that he said need to be 50s." I'd watched him count it, right in front of my eyes, so said to MrL: "You've given him 5s instead of 50s." MrL insisted he'd given him the right money, the driver insisted he had not, I'd seen the notes in his hand so felt sure it was MrL who had made the mistake. Things were getting heated so we paid him again, this time both of us checking the notes taken from the wallet. That was when he gave himself away - with the 3 50s in his hand he showed us a 1 and said we'd given him that instead of a 10. By now a couple of other taxi drivers had come over to see what was going on, so our fellow took off.
We were definitely scammed. I know he switched the notes somehow. All I can say is, he could earn a living as a conjurer - his sleight of hand was that good. We reported him to the police - I'd actually taken a photo of the cab, clearly showing his number - but as far as we know, nothing came of that. So here I am, telling the tale and with it a piece of advice -
Whenever you're paying for something, count the notes one by one into the receiver's hand. Never give over a stack of notes for the other to count for you.
And if you're looking for a taxi in Istanbul - avoid the one in the photo here - No 34 TFE 84.
just noticed exactly what bill u give him (the 1 and 10 mill looks alike) try to give them small bills
also if there is a problem just say "ill call the police"
know the place u r going to (so they wont cruise around all over town and also dont let them get u off the cab far from the place u r going to
ask for an aproximatly price b4 u get on the cab (and first try to find out what is the normal price)
I am in Istanbul as I write this tip... There are countless warnings here on VT about a taxi scam in Istanbul and I wish I had read them in advance. This is my second visit to Istanbul, but on my first visit (in 2004) this either never happened to me or I was totally unaware of it (probably the latter). Now, in 2010, it has occurred on three different occasions over two days (plus one more to my travel companion), but I only realised it on the third time, and I assure you that I'm not a naïve traveller (I am so angry!). It works this way: you hand the taxi driver a 50 Lira note for a trip that cost anything less, but he swiftly and skilfully replaces it with a 5 Lira note, which happens to be of a similar colour, and says you made a mistake. Naturally you doubt yourself, give him another 50 Lira note and take the 5 back. The trip ends up costing you 45 Liras more, which is about €22 or $30 more (as of Jan 2010).
DOUBLE CHECK THE MONEY/NOTE BEFORE YOU GIVE IT TO THE TAXI DRIVER
What is sad and shocking is that each of the taxi drivers that tricked me was a friendly middle aged gentleman, not some young yob who looked like a crook. Poverty may be a factor, but it is distasteful and reflects poorly on the populace and its culture, both of which I happen to adore, or thought I did. It makes me respect more other places I've visited where I've encountered nothing but honesty...
I will never be going back to Turkey on vacation.
In fact I am typing this from my hotel room (marmara hotel), and I cannot wait until my flight in a few days to get out of here.
Sure, the people there are very nice, probably living like all people around the world, but I do not recommend Istanbul for travelers and tourists.
You will be scammed by taxis 8 or 9 times out of 10, so you should read about their tricks before you visit istanbul, if you disagree with me, you have been scammed without knowing.
When you say you want to visit Istanbul, taksim or sultanahmet, you should actually say: I am going to visit beggars, scammers and annoying people standing in front of their shops, who stop you and pressure you have to come visit their business, so they can charge you high amounts.
While walking in istiklal street, I was approached daily, at least 10 times now by dodgy characters, offering me to come for women, massage, bars and I just ignore them and keep walking (this is a scam).
Do not feel bad for the beggars and don't give them a single lira, because they are actually like a gang and I have recognized 1 beggar from my last trip here, doing his same begging job, and they come for the tourists. The waiter of a restaurant told me the government supplies them with necessities, but they prefer to beg.
Learn how to completley ignore all people who approach you in this city, they have completely ruined the experience, and I am wondering why doesn't the government/police crack down on these people.
Taxi drivers have all sorts of schemes to make you pay extra money for your ride. Usually, this involves taking a longer route or circling a neighborhood looking for your destination. After a couple taxi drivers got lost trying to find our hotel, we decided to just tell them to drop us off at the Blue Mosque. This was only two blocks away from our hotel, but it was much easier for us to walk that distance than to explain to the taxi driver the directions. And it saved us at least a dollar or two each time took a taxi.
Only yesterday i took a Taxi with my woman after a hard shooping In the mall near to Sisli to Taksim...There was a young man that look nice , he welcome us at his taxi and during the way he stope for a boy telling us that he is his brother and he has to took him home after his work ...As he looked also nice and the driver was very nice , my woman told Ok but i still start to had doubt...
Then the driver surprise me by : i should change the way because of the traffic !
I believe that was a Trick for took from me more money + , as my woman was tired i told him okey !
Arrived to Taksim he asked me 48 Lira !!! I told what ? he repeat 48 Lira , i knew that it should be not more than 20 Lira but us his brother he get out quickly and he open the door for my woman nicely , i accept finally to give him the 48 Lira with this sentence '' You cheat me but it's ok :) '' ...I gave him 50 Lira bill and again he surprised me with another bill of 5 , you just gave me 5 Lira sir , sir...and believe me you would just believe this pretty boy face certainly when he said Sir...I told him ok , give me back the 5 Lira ...I had with me only 3 bill of 200 Lira that i just took from the bank , then i asked him , do you have change , a small money ? he told yes...I gave him the 200 Lira and in this time i was looking to him , he quickly hide it at the right hand and took with the left hand a bill of 20 Lira ...and told , you just...I told open your hand !!!!!!!!!!!!! then i heard that the other boy was shouting my woman , i get out quickly then he run to Taxi ...and they run both...I took the number of taxi , i get to Police ,
Unfortunately , i waste there more than 2 haours , and no help...as they have a very bad english...I told okey and i comback to hotel ...
This cost me around 80 euro ...and today i am writhing this while i will flight out to my contry after 10 haours...
I will never comback again to Istanbul , not because it's bad , there are many nice people there , but i will not...
Note : Try always to run away from a taxi , there are a good metro there certainly if you will live around Taksim , Osmanbey , aksaray and sisli...
If you had a day to took a taxi , please note that he is signed by an agency ( It should be signed in bleu in the door of taxi )
-Make sure that the driver on the counter
-never accept that someone stranger share with you the taxi , if the driver aske you this please get out directly.
-when you are paying , look in the driver eyes and don't give him the bill until he give you back the change .
- Do not be interesting by the outside of the driver , however he look nice or genteel..Thank you and i hope that i help some of you...
In four days I saw (I think) at least three ways in which Istanbul taxi drivers try to rip off tourists
1. By claiming "the meter is broken", then offering to take you to wherever you're going for an amount which is about 6 times what it would have cost if it had been metered. In my case that meant 28 Lira instead of about 4.
2. By claiming that there's a tramway on the direct way, so they have to go by another route. OK, I'm sure it's often the truth, but I'm equally sure that it isn't always, and I find it hard to believe that, when it is true, it necessitates a five-kilometre detour
3. By keeping their right hand on the gear-lever, half-hiding the meter, so that at some time, either on the way or (more likely) when you've just arrived (and they can draw your attention away from the meter by pointing to the museum or whatever you wanted to go to), they can "flick" the meter, so that instead of showing, say, 9 lire (as you thought it showed a few seconds earlier), it turns out to show 39. (Real figures, from experience - trip from Hagia Sophia to the Spice Market.)
And possibly also 4. By finding some excuse to drop you about half a mile before where you wanted to go, where it's convenient for the taxi-driver but not (though he says it is) for you.
I decided that there was just no way in which I could fight this (no language, no knowledge, no telephone, etc), and that my wisest course of action was never, if possible, to hail a taxi in the street or to take one from what was or looked like a taxi-rank, but always to ask the hotel or restaurant where I'd been having tea or whatever to telephone for one for me.
I was at a conference and got a yellow taxi from the hotel to the conference centre and that was OK and cost 10 lira. The hotel doorman spoke to the driver and told him my destination. On my return I saw a line of yellow taxi cabs outside the conference centre and I got into the first of these. I showed the driver the address of the hotel. He drove past the side street where the entrance of the hotel was and parked further away. I said it should be 10 lira as that was what I had paid for the same journey that morning. He said no give me 20 lira. I said no, not unless you give me change, and i want a receipt. I did not have a 10 lira note and 20 was the smallest I had. He demanded the 20 lira. I handed him the note and he immediately went in his pocket and came back with a 5 lira note and said "you only gave me 5 lira". I said no I did not. He then demanded I give him 50 lira and said it was going to cost 45 lira. I refused and he started to get really nasty. he started ranting on about how he was haran and he prayed. I told him he should be praying for forgiveness then for robbing people. he said I insulted him and started to shout at me in Turkish and looked really threatening. I looked around and could see nobody about. i thought about calling the police but did not know how to. He kept shouting give me 50 lira, and he made to grab at my wallet. In the end I handed over the 50 and incredibly, he handed back 5 lira saying that was all I had given him. so he had taken a 20 and then a 50 off me. I refused to give him anything else and asked for a receipt for what he had taken. he threw a receipt at me and the 5 lira note. The receipt was only for 30 lira. I was so shocked by the experience that I did not take his number. In hindsight I should have done so. I believe he knew exactly where the entrance to the hotel was and that he parked away from it as he knew that I would have shouted the doorman for assistance if he had stopped there. I learned a lesson, never trust the taxi drivers. The next day, I tried walking from the conference back to the hotel, but the heat was terrible, and eventually i admitted defeat and approached a yellow taxi. This time, before I even got in the cab I showed him my two hands with all fingers and thumbs up and said 10 lira to take me to the hotel. He said it would be 15, so I made to walk away and he shouted OK. I again reiterated only 10 lira, and that was all he got and he gave me a receipt for 10 lira. So always know how much roughly it will cost where you are going, and then tell them the price you will pay in advance and make sure you say no more. They do understand English they just play dumb when it suits them. I would never go back there. I felt so threatened by that robbing taxi driver. I also found that some of the men were quite rude. One example was I was getting served at a cafe in the airport on the way back and this man walked up and started to talk over me to the girl serving as if I was not there.
I think tourist hot spots in Istanbul is where your are more than likely to come across a dishonest taxi driver as they will think tourists will carry a lot of cash. I went to Istanbul in November 2013 the biggining of. One day I wanted to go to the blue mosque the taxi I got in to go their was honest it came to just a little over 10 lira I only had notes no change he just accepted the 10 and was polite about it and told me to have a good day. After seeing the mosque I spotted a taxi parked up near the mosque. I got in and asked to be taken to aksaray the location of my hotel. I realised the Meter was on 28 lira I just thought at the time it was the drivers last fair. When he was driving he came across polite then rubbed my lap which I felt really uncomfortable. Then he says I don't know where your hotel is in aksaray and as a first timer I didn't know the directions back I didn't have a map or nothing. Then he stopped the car rang someone to ask for directions. I suspect now that was part of the scam wasting time making on he didn't know where to go to charge me more money. Then when we almost reached my destination I realised the Meter hadn't been reset from his last fair it didn't read 28 lira no more it turned to 38 lira and should of only been a 10 lira fair the taxi stopped across the road from my hotel. Then he read me the fair a first timer to Istanbul I was very nervous been a lone traveller and didn't know what would happen if I said no. So I made the mistake of pulling my wallet out to take the amount out to only have him reaching over grabbing my wallet trying to stop him but he seemed to come over snappy about this so he had my wallet he then took a note out then I thought he would give me change from it. But he said it was only 5 instead of 50. So I gave him 40 lira expecting 7 lira change so he got the 33lira from it and the 5 I thought he had to make it 38 for the taxi. But he came up with some excuse saying he has no change. He only gave me quarter of a lira change 25. Then when I got back to my hotel room I realised it was a 50 he took instead of a 5. So I ended up paying nearly 90 lira for a taxi ride that should of been only 10 lira. I felt very angry about this at the driver and towards myself for not standing up for myself I felt ashamed of myself. At the time I felt powerless to do anything. I read about the switching the 50 lira scam before I came but did not think it would happen. It ruined the rest of my holiday I was limited on what I could do. I was going to go to the Asian side of Istanbul which for me was going to be the highlight to the holiday. So instead I was only able to walk around aksary with money for snacks and the rest for my lift back to the airport on my last day which I was dressing I had to spend a lot of time also in my hotel which was boring I no longer had the funds to explore due to this thief. Next time I go back I'll be more smarter and tougher. So never get a taxi from a tourist hot spot get a bus or a tram. From.
I found this tip from a
VT member Cocali
It was such a well detailed explained scam I just had to put it in my list also.
Thank you to everyone who wrote about the Istanbul taxi scam of telling the passenger they had only given the driver 5 lire instead of the 50 lire bill they had actually handed over. Two days into my Turkey trip, my friend and I encountered the exact scam described and boy, was I ever prepared. We had gotten a taxi near the Blue Mosque and asked to go to an area near the Chora Museum. We were too naive to know that the 60 lire quoted should have been only 12 lire. However, when the driver took us to our destination, I gave him a 50, a 10 and a 5. He then held up a 5, another 5 and a 10 and said I had only given him this. I looked him straight in the face and disagreed. Then I said in a loud voice, "I know what you are doing. I read about this on the internet. Tourists know what you do. You switch the money." I told my friend, "Come on, we are going to take a photo of this cab." I reached for my backpack on the front seat, got out of the cab and memorized his license plate as he sped off. We were quite shook up, but were determined to take action and report him. When we returned to the Sultanahmet district, we immediately ran into a Turkish man we had met who spoke perfect English. He listened to our story and took us up to the security booth at the Blue Bosque area. If we hadn't been with someone we trusted and who spoke perfect English, I don't think we would have done what we did. We went inside the booth and sat with four young undercover policemen while our friend told the story. They then contacted the owner of that cab and summoned in the driver who had bilked us. This all took a very long time. We were very nervous when we saw our very driver appear outside the booth. The policemen then said the report would have to be written up at a police station in the exact district where the incident took place. So, the policemen and our friend took us in a cab back to that district and a policeman wrote up the report. There is no jury system in Turkey and three judges decide the case and they do it immediately. The driver came to the station and they let him talk to us, which I didn't like at all. He said he had two children and if he gave the money back, would we drop the charges. We said no. We then found out he had this happen three times before, but I wasn't clear about whether the charges were pressed or not. What the policemen told me was that the judge had been phoned and that this driver would go to jail that evening and be transported to a larger jail in a few days. The policemen were very thankful that we filed the complaint and stood by it. They were very compassionate. So, I hope that this action will send a message to other dishonest taxi drivers that they can't get away with this.
I took the taxi 6 times but only got ripped off one time! Not that bad ;-)
However that one time was quite memorable. Going from the hotel to the old city cost about 20TL with a taxi from the hotel. If you have the choice, better use them.
On our way back we had to take a taxi from the street. I was already smelling something fishy when the driver was reluctant to drive us back in front of the hotel entrance. I though he didn’t want to be bothered by the gate check (yes, there was a gate check for cars!!)…He first tried to drop us at the Marina nearby while he had perfectly understood we were going to the Sheraton. At the end he drove us a bit closer but still without entering the hotel premises.
He was then asking for 45TL! That’s already the double of the regular price, but still cheap according to Belgian standards. My colleague asked for a receipt which he got and handed over several notes.
The guy was then complaining there was not enough. I suspect, at this stage, he had already flipped a 20 TL note with a 5 one!
Too bad, that’s all my colleague had with him. He took back what was left of his money and I handed over a brand new 50 bank note!
Suddenly the bastard did his trick again: my 50 TL note suddenly turned into a 5TL note!
He tried to rip us twice in a row with the same trick! Amazing!!
I was sure of what I had given and simply got out of the taxi! He hasn’t run after us…