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.
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...
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.
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.
PLEASE! Be aware when you take a taxi, as it happens twice to us. My friend before he has asked me 20.mil. liras and gave it to him, then later we took a taxi and i went out first till he pay..he payed but suddenly apears that he only gave 2.000.000 in case of 20.000.000? strange no! ,not at all, but i m not so easy,i was so sure something was wrong that i open the taxi?s driver door and discover he has droped there the banknote..when we went to the airport the same. So take care with taxi driver?s!. OK best luck
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.
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…
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