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Istanbul taxi rip off
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
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
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...
- Family Travel
Istanbul Taxi experience
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.
Taxi cabs in Istanbul
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.
- Women's Travel
- Business Travel
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The Istanbul taxicab scam continues
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.
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Be careful when paying fair in instanbul Taxi's
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...
Taxi from Airport
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.
Driver fiddled with meter
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!!!
Taxi Scam - Driver is now in jail
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.
- Women's Travel
Taxi drivers Instanbul
Thanks to this site l was sort of aware of taxi scabby scamming drivers. Today I had two bad experiences....one did the 50 note swapped for a 5. As a solo female traveller is can be a little scary facing up to these guys. Anyway, I when I said I did give 50, he screamed at me so I said " well, bad luck, I'm not giving you more". He screamed again, so I got out and he retorted with "f... you".
Then early evening, I caught a taxi from Taskim to Sultanahmet....normally anything up to 15 L......this chap had the meter on , then part way through he fiddled with it and when we got there he charged 45 L. When i mentioned that the meter was off he pointed to a jumble of numbers that made no sense at all.I told him I did the same trip the other day and was charged 10.5 He said his were night rates. ( it was just dusk). I understand that night fares have been stopped...is that right? I paid him 15 L and he did the usual " f.... you".I did get his number plate so maybe I should pass it on to the tourist police. It's maddening that we always have to have our antennas on ultra high!
I agree with a past post saying Instanbul isn't relaxing. As a female traveller it's tiring getting through the day, with oily men pestering me and usual lines of rubbish. Travelling shoul be fun and not having to walk poker faced and non- friendly.
- Women's Travel
Taxi Driver has Someone Meet Us for a "Free" Tour
Until we got out of the tourist areas, we thought Istanbul was one big scam. Our first taxi was from the Kempinski Ciragan Palace hotel to the Topkapi Palace. The driver kept asking us if this was our first time in Istanbul. I learned later this should always be answered "No". If you answer "Yes", they feel you are the perfect "mark". When we exited the taxi at the area closest to the Topkapi Palace (there is a walking area so they have to drop you off before you get there), there was a guy who spoke good English offering to give us a tour. He said it would be "free" if we would come to some of "his" stores. In Turkey, everyone seems to be on commission if they can bring in the tourists. Our taxi driver said he was "okay". (Our taxi driver had been on the cell phone on our way in, so I'm sure he set all this up and was also in the commission stream.) We went on the tour. We were taken to the Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, and the Blue Mosque. He had a tour guide card, got out tickets without waiting. spoke English well, and moved fast. All in all, it was a good tour. We saw a lot in a short time. We then had to go to "his" stores, a rug shop, a jewelry store, and a porcelain shop, We didn't buy anything. We then went to a currency exchange to get money for dinner and shopping. I made the mistake of asking if he wanted to be paid since we didn't buy anything and he said 400 TL. I got him to 350 TL but should have argued that he said it was free. So for about $200 we got a 3 hour tour with someone who knew how to get around the lines and spoke good English. Not really bad but "not as advertised". If you stay around Istanbul, I imagine you will improve your negotiation skills, be wary of "friends" and scams, and learn how to ignore people. As a tourist, you are definitely a target.
Taxi Scam, swapping 5 TL for a 50 TL
I didn't read these warnings before going to Istanbul. We were in the tourist area near the Grand Bazaar. After dinner, we walked back and found a cab parked just waiting for his next victim. We were driven toward the Kempinski Saragon Palace (our hotel) and before getting there he said that the traffic was bad, would we mind getting out and walking. In retrospect, it was dark and we had to hurry. I gave him a 50 TL note and when I was waiting for change for a 35 TL fare, he showed a 5 TL note and said I had only given him a 5. I gave him another 50 TL and again said it was only a 5 TL. I wasn't expecting this and was flustered. He then reached into my wallet and started going through the bills to find the right one. I stopped him, my wife found a 20 and 5 TL note and we got out. I felt that I had given him two 50's but really wasn't sure. When I got back to the hotel, I Googled Taxi scam, 5 for 50 TL and found this was done to others. Our hotel said I should have photographed the taxi before getting in to get his number. Our driver said he was from Trabzon, Turkey. He was at least in his late 50's with gray hair.
1) Flash a picture of the cab before getting in.
2) If you are with someone, show them the 50 to verify it and then hold onto it until the taxi verifies it is a 50.
3) Don't let them drop you off where it is dark and in traffic (I am sure this is part of the scam so you can't see well and you must rush. He probably picked a dark spot. I am sure this scam is carefully planned by this thief who happens to be a taxi driver.)
4) If anyone asks "Is this the first time you have been in Istanbul?", say "No".
Taxis Always Overcharge!
I was aware of that when I arrived at the Airport but I thought I would just look for a regular taxi, company-owned, with a decent looking driver and somehow will manage to avoid being overcharged. I was thinking that if I ask for price before I get into the taxi and if show the driver that I am careful and I am not going to let him cheat, I would be fine. But take my word, it is not possible. Those people would lie to you with no shame and there would be nothing you can do about it. On my way back I asked for airport transfer at the hotel and they recommended to me a local company. As I was leaving the hotel, their car was waiting for me, an English speaking driver welcomed me and took me to the airport. He was really kind and professional. I strongly advice anyone going to Istanbul to use a service like that, airport transfers seem to be quite popular there. The price is high, but at least you know it in advance and you don't feel like you are being robbed.
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Warning for Istanbul taxi
I was in Istanbul in the end of May 2011 for a one-day business meeting. It is my first time to Istanbul and I did not have enough time to read about Istanbul. However, I did read the information supplied by the meeting organizer. It is stated there that people in Istanbul are very friendly and Istanbul is as safe as any European city.
I arrived late in the afternoon the day before the meeting. Therefore, I had some hours to discover the city. Since I was booked in a hotel near the Taksim Square, I went first to the Taksim Square and then along the Istiklal street, a pedestrian street with tram rails in the middle. It was a crowed street. Very soon, I bumped into someone, or someone bumped into me. The person was really friendly and polite. He apologized, took my hand, introduced himself and started a conversation with me. Finally, he suggested to drink a beer somewhere. Since I really did not have time for beer, I politely denied.
Within a couple of hours, I was involved in the same situation four or five times. The encounters had various background. However, they all suggested to take a beer somewhere and I denied them all due to the shortage of time. I started to believe that people in Istanbul are really guest-friendly and I felt guilty to deny all these friendly invitation.
However, now after reading previous stories published here, I realize that all these invitations were probably not friendly at all.
Later, when afternoon turned into evening, I returned to my hotel. On the streets outside the hotel, I met more friendly strangers. Again, they all have different background. However, they all suggested to go to a bar nearby with very beautiful girls, after a friendly and warm conversation. I know that “beautiful girls” usually mean huge expenses, I had no problem to refuse those invitations.
It seems I have avoided all tourist traps so far. However, I did not know that I was going to be a victim for the last trap that a tourist may fall into: the taxi to the airport.
As my return flight was scheduled to 2 PM, I had no need to take a taxi. Instead, I planned to go to the Ataturk airport by bus. I checked the home page for the airport bus. I read that there are buses from Taksim Square directly to the airport and the trip will take at most 75 minutes. However, for whatever reasons, I could only find time table for buses from airport to Taksim Square but not time table for the reverse trip.
Therefore, after the breakfast, at approximately 8:30, I went to the Taksim Square to check out the bus-stop and the departure time. I did find the bus-stop and learnt that the bus has the number 96T. The bus-stop was clearly marked by signpost. The next departure time is 9:20 and after that 10:05. Since I have more than enough time to catch either of these, I did not check other departure times.
Back to the hotel, I started to realize that if I take the bus at 9:20 or 10:05, I will be at the airport around 11 O’clock and I have to kill three hours there. Therefore, I decided to work for a while in the hotel room and take a later bus, which should departure at 10:50, if the interval between the departure times would be 45 minutes, as between 9:20 and 10:05.
Some minutes before 10:50, I was at the bus-stop in Taksim Square again. However, this time, I found neither signpost for airport bus nor bus itself. I asked people around, some pointed at one direction. Others pointed at another. I ran around but I could not find any airport bus. At last, I went into a parked bus and asked the chauffer where the airport bus was. He answered that there was no more airport bus. What?! Was 10:05 the last bus to airport? I had no time to find out the answer or continue searching for airport bus. Instead, I went to one of many taxi-cars nearby and asked the driver to drive me to the Ataturk airport.
I had 53 Lira in my wallet and I thought it was enough. Since the information from the meeting organizer states that a taxi trip between Ataturk airport and Taksim Square costs between 30 and 60 Lira dependent on the traffic. My taxi from Airport to hotel near the Taksim Square when I arrived to the hotel cost 45 Lira. I had also 180 Euros in my wallet.
The driver asked me if we should use taximeter. I said yes and he turned it on. However, on the way to the airport, I saw that the display of the taximeter started flickering and showed random numbers. I started to realize that that taximeter was probably manipulated. However, I also realize that it was too late to do anything.
When we arrived at the airport, he did not park the taxi in front of the entrance to the departure hall. Instead, he stopped on the way out and pushed the taximeter. Now, it displayed 98 and two decimal (Lira).
I told him I do not trust his taximeter. I even showed the receipt for my taxi trip from airport to the hotel. His English is not good and he started to tell things that I did not understand. Obviously, he started behaviour threatening. Meanwhile, he did not stop the car completely. In fact, the car was slowly moving away from the departure hall. I told him that I did not have that much Lira. However, I gave him several options. I can pay him 50 Lira and the rest in Euro, or pay by credit card or I can go to the departure hall and change Euro to Lira. He did not accept any of these options but wanted 50 Euros. Since I had only Euros in 10-Euro bills, I gave him five 10-Euro bills. He took the money but he still said no. He insisted to want a 50-Euro bill. Since I did not have any 50-Euro bill, there was no way to satisfy him. While I was explaining for him, the car moved further away from the airport. I even let him to examine my wallet that there was no 50-Euro bill. After quite some time, he agreed and said “Ok, give me 50 Euros”. I told him that I have already given him the money. He said no. And now in his hand, there were only three 10-Euro bills. Obviously, he has hidden two bills. Since I could not prove it, I had to give him another two 10-Euro bills.
Before I got out of the car, I asked him for the receipt. I even asked him to sign the receipt with his name and I did it. When I got out the car, I was concentrating in checking if I had all my luggage, my passport, my ticket and my jacket etc. The taxi rushed away and I did not notice the registration number of the car.
When I entered the departure hall and checked my wallet again. I discovered that I missed another two 10-Euro bills. I felt how stupid I had been to let the driver to examine my wallet. I was so angry that I went to the airport police. The police looked at the receipt I presented and told me they could do nothing, since there was no identification of the taxi on the receipt. The identification number on the receipt had nothing to do with the car the drivers signature meant only “Turkish Lira” in Turkish.
I thought what I could have done better. Maybe, I could have asked the driver from beginning for a fixed price? Maybe I should have written down the registration number of the car before I entered it?
Nevertheless, Istanbul will never become a place for my private vacation. In my private travel, I want to be able to relax instead of keeping alert all the time. I will avoid such places where I just can not trust anyone.
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