Taxi Tips

You will find here the best taxi tips from an insider that will give you a heads-up for the taxi scams in Istanbul.


Whether you are coming to Istanbul as a traveler, for a business trip or just visiting relatives, it will be wise to know about taxi scams before you arrive.

Istanbul is no stranger to scams, like all other major cities. The first thing to be careful about is the taxi driver scam.


Here are some basic tips to avoid such scams;

Taking a taxi;

  • All taxis have digital taxi-meters and they are required by the law to run them. There used to be 2 rates for daytime and nighttime. Starting from 2008, there is only one rate. So don’t be fooled if a taxi driver turns on a night-rate. Simply check the meter with LCD displays, if it flashes ‘gündüz’ or ‘gece’ when they are started. (Daytime in Turkish: Gündüz, Nighttime in Turkish: Gece). If you've caught a driver in the act, threaten to summon the police and get out of the taxi.
  • Some taxi drivers may act like they forgot to start the taximeter. Just check the taximeter, you should see “TL 2,5” flashing on the LCD display. If not, just point to the device and say “Taximetre” (Read as: tahk-see-meht-ray). The taximeter should charge TL 1,40 for each kilometer.
  • It is best to have your hotel concierge call a taxi for you rather than you flagging it down. This way you will be sure the driver will not take you for a ride, because hotels and taxi companies have agreements about that. Hotel rewards the taxi company for honesty and accountability with the continuous business, at no extra charge to the passenger.
  • If you are in Sultanahmet, take the tram or walk down to Sirkeci and take a cab from there. Drivers in Sultanahmet are usually phony.
  • When you are out you can get into the nearest hotel and have the receptionist call a taxi for you. A taxi from Taksim to Sultanahmet will cost between 10 TL-14 TL ($9-$12 or 3.8 - £5.3), during daytime.
  • If a driver asks for a flat fare or pretend the meter doesn’t work, just tell him; "No meter, no ride". If this doesn’t solve the problem, simply take another taxi.

Communication with the taxi driver;

  • The most basic of the taxi tips: You should keep in mind that your taxi driver will not speak English.
  • Have your destination address written out and also have a map or landmark to guide the driver.
  • Don’t take the risk of having no idea about the location that you want to go. Look for it on a map, have an idea, even if it is not 100% accurate.Otherwise you will be rewarded with a route that costs fairly high. There are a few things to avoid being scammed; you can show your driver where you want to go on a map and the route you want him to go through.

Money issues;

  • The most practical of the taxi tips: Always have lots of change. Because the taxi driver will never have enough change.
  • There are phony drivers around touristic areas. A phony driver would take your money, look at his pockets, change your money with a fake one and tell that he doesn’t have change.To avoid this kind of a situation, hold your banknote until you've received your change. Also, if he gave you a change, check on that money to see if it is fake or real.
  • Avoid taxis that wait around the tourist spots such as Sultanahmet. These drivers are that make money froud. Don’t hire a taxi off the street in front of the Hagia Sophia or Blue Mosque, under no circumstances.
  • You don't have to tip a taxi, it is not common in Turkey.
  • For longer distances (like going to the Asian Side) or drives outside of the city limits, taxis usually have a list of set rates. Be sure you've discussed these in advance, as you may be able to negotiate a discount. And make sure you write it down.
  • If you go to the other side of the city (Asian side), using either of the bridges on Bosphorus, it is your responsibility to cover the toll (3.5 TL).

Some basic rules;

  • You have to put on the seatbelt if you’re sitting on the front seat.
  • And the good news is: Smoking is forbidden in the taxis and if the driver is smoking you can ask him not to.


These are some taxi tips to give you a head-start. Don’t be too over-cautious, just be aware.

Don't expect bad things to happen before sitting in a cab. Just be a smart customer, you will be more than fine.

You can see other travel advice pages full of essential tips for travellers if you want to know more.

Here is a page about general safety:

"Travel Safety"

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