Istanbul mayor under fire over fare hikes

Published 29.08.2019 00:06

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality's transport watchdog the Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME) announced Tuesday a new fare list for taxis, minibuses and school buses.

The decision, likely to cause an outrage among the city dwellers, comes just six months after Istanbul's newly elected mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu pledged to decrease fares to "symbolic" levels.

The new fare list increased taxi and minibus fares by 25% and school bus fares by 13%.

"This increase in fare will both protect the interests of our citizens and people earning a living from [taxis and minibuses]," said İmamoğlu making the announcement.

The fare hikes were faced with severe criticism on social media. Some social media users pointed out İmamoğlu's pledges before he was elected in June, like free milk and bread for families as well as a reduction in transportation fees.

According to the new list, the minimum taxi fare will be TL 13. For "dolmuş" minibuses, which usually travel on short routes and narrow streets with limited bus access, the minimum fee will be TL 2.5. The minimum fee for school buses will be TL 243.

For the city's taxi drivers, whose behavior towards customers and preference for foreign tourists instead of locals in the city's central locations are often criticized, the raise was a welcome move.

Eyüp Aksu, head of an association representing the city's taxi drivers, said it was "a correction rather than a raise," pointing out that the last change in fares was in 2017.

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