Taxis in Istanbul: Overview
Almost 20.000 yellow taxis circulate in Istanbul, providing, in general terms, quick and comfortable transfers. With an Istanbul taxi, you can travel seating in comfort in the back seat of an air-conditioned vehicle while you reach your destination stress-free without worrying about finding your way around the city or struggling with heavy luggage.
The two main downsides of hiring a taxi in Istanbul are the notorious traffic and the taxi driver scams. Indeed, traffic congestion is a major problem in Istanbul, causing endless car lines. Hence, as Istanbul taxis are metered and thus, their fare is based on the taximeter’s indication based on the traveled distance and the ride duration, travelers end up paying relatively high fees while spending a good amount of time on the road. Furthermore, Istanbul taxi drivers are known for scamming and overcharging tourists. This isn’t, of course, the rule, but it happens far too often. Finally, taxi drivers in Istanbul tend to drive carelessly, but you will find out that is the case for most Turks drivers who seem to have unique road behavior.
All in all, Istanbul taxis are always a good idea if the weather conditions are bad or if you are in a lack of time. Moreover, taxis are the most convenient option for night transfers when public transportation routes are rare.
Types of Istanbul Taxis
Istanbul taxis are divided into three categories: orange taxis, blue/turquoise taxis, and black taxis. The usual Istanbul taxis are yellow with the distinctive “TAXI” sign on their roof. Yellow “C” type taxis are economical cars (like Renault Clio etc.) and can carry up to 4 passengers with limited luggage. In any case, yellow taxis are the most popular as well as cheaper taxi option in Istanbul. The next costlier category is the blue/turquoise taxis. These “D” type taxis consist of more expensive and comfortable vehicles (for istanceOpel Insignia), but their rate is 15% higher. Lastly, the black “E” taxis offer luxurious rides with expensive vehicles such as Mercedes, etc., but their price is twice the price of yellow taxis.
Istanbul Taxi Fares
Istanbul taxis are cheap overall. They work on a meter. Hence, you won’t find any set prices for your transfer. Their starting fee is 9.8₺ (0.54€/0.50$), while they charge approximately 6.3₺ (0.35€/0.30$) per kilometer. Every 5 minutes of waiting time or waiting in line on the road, add 0.8₺ (0.04€/0.03$) to the total fare. The minimum ride cost is 28₺ (1.53€ /1.50$). Moreover, the tolls or tunnels fee burdens the passenger. Nevertheless, you should always keep in mind that when crossing from the European side of Istanbul to the Asian one, you have to pay a toll, but for your way back (from the Asian to the European side), no toll fee is imposed.
On another note, night rates no longer exist in Istanbul. Therefore, you will pay the same amount of money no matter the time of day. Even so, you should always bear in mind that the heavy traffic levels of Istanbul affect the final price, and thus, you may end up paying a high fare if you travel during rush hours.
In Istanbul, you‘d better carry some cash with you if you are willing to take a taxi. It isn’t the rule that credit/debit cards aren’t accepted as a payment method, but probably, your taxi driver won’t even have the necessary card terminal. What’s more, you should pay in Turkish liras as you may be deceived about the exchange rate. However, if you decide to book your taxi transfer in advance, credit cards could definitely be used.
How to Hire a Taxi in Istanbul
Ordinary yellow taxis are everywhere in Istanbul. You can stand on the main streets, wave your hand, and you will easily catch one of them. However, the most secure method to avoid getting scammed by an unofficial taxi is to take your cab from the taxi ranks located all over Istanbul. On the other hand, you can always book your taxi online using one of the Istanbul Taxi Apps (e.g. iTaksi, Bitaksi, Kiwi Taxi) or ask your hotel concierge to call a taxi for you.
Istanbul Taxis to Istanbul New Airport
Useful Information about Istanbul Taxis
- You don’t have to tip your taxi driver.
- Taxi drivers in Istanbul usually round up the final fee.
- You should check the taxi fares to the most popular Istanbul destinations and use a navigation app to be certain that your driver isn’t circling the city to raise the final price.
- You should have small notes with you as an often taxi driver scam is to change big notes with small ones (for instance, you give 50₺ and the driver claims that you gave 5₺).
- Never agree upon a fixed fare unless you are certain about the exact cost of your ride. Otherwise, the set price will be higher than the relevant taximeter indication.
- There are no separate fares for the night rides.
- Always check that the taximeter is zeroed and on when entering the cab.
- Never accept rides from individuals with unofficial vehicles.
- The final charge is calculated per ride and not per person.
- Some tourist areas in Istanbul are pedestrian so pay attention when you decide on your drop-off location.
- You have to pay tolls when crossing the Bosphorus bridges from the European Istanbul side to the Asian one but not on your way back.
How expensive are taxis in Istanbul?
Taxis in Istanbul are a cheap transportation option. However, as taxis are metered and traffic jams in Istanbul are common, the final fare may end up being quite expensive. Moreover, taxi scams are, unfortunately, regular in Istanbul, so you must pay attention if you don’t want to be overcharged.
Do taxis take credit cards in Istanbul?
In general terms, taxi drivers in Istanbul accept only cash. You will find drivers who also have credit card terminals, but they are, unfortunately, the exception so you should always be prepared to pay in cash.
Do you tip taxi drivers in Istanbul?
Turks don’t tip taxi drivers for their services, hence tipping isn’t obligatory, but it isn’t also a norm. The usual practice is that drivers round up the final fare as a form of a tip.