We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cab rides on the Asian side

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
162 posts
31 reviews
4 helpful votes
Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

Just got back from my second visit to the wonderful city of Istanbul, and will post a restaurant recommendation tomorrow. But for now, I wanted to vent about cab rides on the Asian side a bit, and see if my experience is typical or not.

So, my business and hotel were both on the Asian side, about 5 kms from Uskudar and about 4 km from each other. We took 11 cab rides from our business to our hotel or Uskadar, and only one of them was direct.

I don't think that the cab drivers were trying to jack up the fares - they genuinely seemed to have no idea where they were going, as evidenced by repeatedly asking questions of other cab drivers and pedestrians and frequent U-turns on busy streets. We even had them pull over at places that were obviously not our destinations and insist that we get out, several times.

This was in spite of the fact that we had two or three maps, with both ends of the journeys and a route marked on it.

The topper came on my last cab ride, from Uskudar to the hotel. The hotel was a couple of blocks off Acibadem Street (which seemed like a main street), which I kept saying and pointing to the map. For the first 45 (45!) minutes, the cab driver didn't even come close to Acibadem Street. Once he did, I quickly pointed out the rest of the way to him

It was very frustrating, and a blemish on my memories of this great city.

So, is this common? Was there anything I could have done to lessen this continuous set of problems?

Thanks for listening, and even more so for any advice.

Istanbul, Turkey
Level Contributor
50,543 posts
63 reviews
236 helpful votes
1. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

Greenie, thanks for letting us know about the taxi drivers who cannot find their destinations. This issue is rather complex and local municipalities and perhaps central government can do a lot of things to address this problem. The training of taxi drivers and their licencing procedures need all be completely rehauled and re-established. One thing you can do is to send a copy-paste of your post (not the link) to the following addresses: "info@kulturturizm.gov.tr", "nazirsenturk@istanbul.gov.tr", "baskan@ibb.gov.tr", "tsofinfo@tsof.org.tr", "info@istsoforleresnafodasi.com".

enigma...

Istanbul, Turkey
Destination Expert
for Istanbul
Level Contributor
4,642 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
2. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

Hi Greenie,

Nice to hear that you enjoyed your visit. For cabs its not a surprise, same for locals. Best way to avoid this is to address a well known place. For example, ask them to go Capitol Shopping Mall and than give directions.

Alper

http://locallypera.blogspot.com

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,892 posts
9 reviews
48 helpful votes
3. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

Unfortunately many cab drivers in Istanbul have no idea where anything is. You hear excuses like I'm a taxi driver of this such and such neighbourhood, or European side or Asian side only, or I'm driving the car on behalf of my uncle/friend/brother-in-law. Many drivers are not locals of Istanbul and immigrants or as Istanbul is a big city they only know a small specific part. Even locals have to direct the way and before I go anywhere with a taxi I take a detailed description of the location from a friend or the business owner so I don't have to rely on the taxi driver. And I doubt many even know how to read a map!!! Reasons are probably many. Lack of regulation in licensing, the huge expense of a taxi license so a taxi need to be used by 2-3 drivers around the clock to pay for itself, lack of any formal training for taxi drivers, and probably many more social, economical and regulatory reasons.

Thank you greenie44 for pointing out to the problems, Alper's suggestion is a good one to ask to go to a major site nearby and then direct from there, which may not always be possible for visitors.

Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
14,183 posts
216 reviews
338 helpful votes
4. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

This used to be a small problem for us. We always asked the driver to take us to a place that is very well known such as the Blue Mosque or Taksim Square. While this method often left us with several blocks to walk on our own, it did save time while the taxi driver stopped every block to ask questions.

As soon as my husband developed enough Turkish to give driving directions to the taxi driver this problem was solved. My husband always figured out the best way to reach our destination. Then he gave verbal directions to the driver. Several drivers were hesitant to follow his directions back into Sultanahmet, until he insisted. Each of them was appreciative for finding a faster way into the old city.

In the alternative, we have called the people at our destination and ask them to give driving directions to our taxi driver. This often works; although there is no guarantee that the person at your destination will know how to reach it from where you are coming. It also means that you need to have your own cell phone or ask the taxi driver to use his cell phone.

We have also had someone prepare very specific driving directions in Turkish and given these to our driver when we begin. As Kozano suggests, this is also a good way to help your taxi driver find your destination.

I do not believe that the majority of these "lost" drivers are deliberately running up the meter. In my experience, most taxi drivers want to provide efficient service. I suspect that the average resident of Istanbul could not find a specific street location or a less well known restaurant or hotel. The best answer to this problem seems to be the use of a GPS system in every taxi. Then the only problem would be to convince the driver to trust the GPS.

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
162 posts
31 reviews
4 helpful votes
5. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

Thanks to all for your perspectives. One of the many drivers we had actually took our map and looked at it upside down, which might indicate that he did not know how to read it.

We frequently had someone at the starting point give directions in Turkish before we left, but it didn't seem to prevent these type of problems.

And probably your suggestion to learn enough Turkish to give directions to common locations is probably a worthwhile investment of time.

I never really had a big problem with this type of thing in Sultanahmet or the European side, but it seemed to be endemic on the Asian side.

Aberdeen, Scotland
Destination Expert
for Aberdeen
Level Contributor
10,466 posts
53 reviews
45 helpful votes
6. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

We took cabs twice on the Asian side as we were unfamiliar with the area.

The first seemed to take an awful long time and I suspected he didn't really know where he was going, rather than purposely taking a long route to rip us off.

The second was hilarious. We wanted to go from the ferry to the big Friday market and tried steering him in the right general direction (from our TA route) but, no, he took us to a small Migros.

So then I thought I was being quite clever thing to direct him to the market near Fenerbahce. We spotted the market stalls, pointed and waved at them asking him to stop - but no, he proudly drew up at a big Migros under the stadium!

Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
14,183 posts
216 reviews
338 helpful votes
7. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side
Save

Sometimes I think that taxi drivers only arrived in Istanbul the day before they started to drive. We have had many amusing situations with taxis, but the oddest event was the night we asked to go to the Blue Mosque and the driver proudly took us to the Yeni Mosque by the Spice Bazaar. He was so positive that he asked five people before he was willing to accept that he was not at the Blue Mosque.

I hasten to add that this problem also happens in the US. It seems to me as if the majority of taxi drivers are recent immigrants to our country. They do not know where to go, and many times they speak little English.

As my Turkish landlady would have said "All over the world - same same".

8. Re: Cab rides on the Asian side

-:- Message from Tripadvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the Tripadvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: October 07, 2010, 12:18 pm
© 2021 TripAdvisor LLC All rights reserved.

This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in Philippines. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu.