Here's the situation that I'v heard of multiple times:
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.
Personally, I find it best to pre-book my airport transfer prior to my arrival. That way I have an english speaking driver waiting for me at the arrival gate, at the same price as a regular taxi.
I recently booked a taxi for my Istanbul airport transfer from a service called Welcome Pickups. They were actually pretty awesome, the driver was very friendly and knowledgeable about the city.
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.
No one speaks English, taxis are old and almost all of them will try to steal you. I am going to Istanbul every once in a while for job and almost always I have some bad experience, as there are a lot of unlicensed drivers. Once I was even robbed by a taxi driver. He took my bags and left when I left the car and moved towards the truck. Fortunately it was only a 3 days luggage, and my last day in Istanbul, but still it was very unpleasant. As I travel a lot, I found this website http://myworldtaxi.com/index.php They have info about all good taxi companies in many world cities, here is the page about taxis in Istanbul http://myworldtaxi.com/cityPage.php?cityid=141
So far I´ve been using it for few European and US cities, but for Istanbul I am always calling the numbers they indicated, a they seem to be trusted taxi services, and so far I have to say I didn´t have any bad experience. They are not a taxi service, just a place gathering trusted taxi services in one place. I think they collect all the info from users and their experiences... It works for me so far... There are actually good taxis in Istanbul, you just have to find them.
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.
I asked three taxis, how much to aksaray* and the first one said 50, then the other 30, then the other 25, and it should not be more than 15-20 twenty lira.
so we took this cab and the driver turned out to be a nut job and decided half way he didn't want to go anymore to the destination because of traffic and demanded that we pay him the meter for driving around a little, and stopping at some place to attend some business he had for about 5 minutes which you should not accept because the meter is calculating out of your pocket.
If a taxi tells you there is traffic so he will have to take a detour, or gives you any reason just take another taxi, u are dealing with a thief.
I refused to pay him and threatened to call the police, and then we settled it by paying half of the meter, being a german tourist with a barrier language there is not much you can do. I don't know if police are dependable in this city.
By now I am very cautious as I don't want anyone to pull a knife on me or even a gun in this city, all these scammers are poor and uneducated, so you want to avoid problems as much as you can.
its appears to be common practice that taxis drop you off farther than your destination because it is more convenient for them, and they realize there is no more potential to milk money out of you. In my case I was dropped off much farther.
Avoid riding a taxi in the Sultanahmet Area-or the old town in total- as much as possible, unless they are called from your hotel from a trusted cab station. They are all waiting for tourist rip offs, either taking you for a longer than needed ride or exchanging your 50 tl bills for 5. You can see all the major tourist attractions(Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar etc) and shopping malls if you travel with the metro or tram line
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...
I have just returned from my 6th visit to Istanbul in 15 years and was shocked by the way some Taxi drivers have become so unreliable. Tired after a day's shopping with my partner we went to a Taxi stand by the Spice Bazar and asked a taxi driver the approximate price to Taxim. He suggested 45 TL and i said that was way too expensive. He said he would take us for 25TL. We agreed and entered the cab. To my surprise he immediately gave me 25 TL and asked me for TL50. I did not have a 50 TL bill and could not understand why he should make such a request. But being tired we went to the closest atm and got 150 TL; consisting of a 100 TL bill and one TL50 bill. We returned to the stand hoping to find some reasonable driver yet the Taxi driver was there waiting for us. We entered his taxi and he once again gave me 25TL and in return I gave him a 50TL bill. He pretended not to speak good english and he immediately produced a 5TL bill. For a moment i thought i made some mistake, so i sought the only TL50 bill I had to give it to him. But i had it no more and suddenly realised what had happened. I insisted that i had paid him the 50TL bill as he became angry and hostile. He then asked me for TL75 which included an extra 25TL for my partner. This was the ultimate and i got out of the Taxi in some commotion telling him that he took 25TL off me and following this experience i would nnever return to Istanbul because of his behaviour. Suddenly a well dressed young man who looked to be some manager came to the cab and said he saw what was happening and that the cab driver was a reliable man. I said that i had been robbed by the cab driver and that they were colleagues and I was suspecting they were partners in crime. Astonishingly, the well dressed man went up to a kind looking taxi driver and told me that this kind hearted driver will take me to Taxim free of charge, which he did in a polite and friendly way. I have him an extra 10TL by way of a tip. I believe that Istanbul taxi drivers must work to ensure that they will be the reliable persons they were a few years ago.
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 took a cab from near the Hagia Sofia to the Taksim area. He was very nice, spoke a little English, and told me that there was a big football game that day and so he must take a detour. The fare, which should have been around 12 TRY, ended up as TRY 32. Yes, I already knew what he was up to, but I was dog tired and frankly didn't care that he was ripping me off. So I gave him TRY 40. A moment later, he turned and showed me that I had only given him TRY 25. Somehow the 20 lira bill had turned into a 5. I said, "I thought I had given you a 20," to which he could only shrug. I doubted myself and paid additional money.
I now read this website and realize that my suspicion was correct. If only I had read it prior to my arrival... Well, now I know.
Please be careful when paying your fare in Istanbul taxi's. Overal taxi fares are reasonable around Istanbul however this is only if you pay what the meter says. I have been here one week and been ripped off twice. You hand them a 50 Lira for a 40 Lira fair. They do a swap and you have a 5 in your hand. The 5 and the 50 are same color so they have a good scam going. They look at you and strug thier shoulders. You can't argue as they will pretend not to understand. Not all these taxi's are like this as we had some good ones as well. But don't dig into your wallet for money when paying. Have a few lose bills in your pocket. I would even suggest standing outside the cab and then paying. I hope to run into this dude again, might look at dashing to see how it feels.
100 Lira lighter in Istanbul.....
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...
After reading this section prior to my trip, I was really worried about taking a taxi from the airport (Ataturk) to my hotel (in Nisantasi which is just beyond Taksim Square). I prepared myself as much as possible - I wrote down the name and address of my hotel before hand. I spoke confidently (I'm a New Yorker so I spoke in the same tone of voice I use in NYC). He asked me if I "know Istanbul" at all and I (lied) and said I had been once before. I didn't take pictures and kept kind of quiet. I also (lied) and said I was in town for work. These subtleties were my hints that I know what I'm doing.
I felt compelled to add my tip here because in the end my taxi ride was quite pleasant, fast, and he took me directly to the hotel at the price I expected. The Taksimetre was on the entire time (albeit it IS hard to see from the back seat). The ride to Nisantasi cost 49.70TL so I gave him 60TL and declined for him to make change - he was very taken a back and he thanked me repeatedly.
Since it was raining and cold we decided to take a taxi from just North of the Aya Sofia back to our hotel in Sultanahmet. The driver turned on the meter and said he can't drive down the tramway so he needs to go around. He took a very long route and as we approached the hotel he turned off the meter and said that the fare was 25TL when the meter had shown something nearer 10. When challenged he said 20 and said the meter was showing 21! Since this experience I don't want to get in another taxi!!!
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.