It has been barely a month since taxi fares in Istanbul were raised but drivers are apparently unhappy and are now asking for a higher price.
Eyüp Aksu, head of a taxi drivers' association, said they were not satisfied with the 25% rise that brought fare for the shortest distance from TL 10 to TL 13.
Aksu said the last raise was two years ago and new changes failed to cover the drivers' expenses. He went on to claim that taxis offered "a cheap means of travel like mass transit." Drivers now plan to hold talks with the authorities for a new regulation in January to raise fares. "We had asked for a 30% raise but it did not happen. We saw expenses, including for batteries and tires, rise by 110%. We are the victim of these raises," he said.
Taxi drivers, however, are divided over the raise. Gökhan Çilesiz says he saw a drop in the number of fares and is against a new raise. "People cannot spend more on taxis. It will be bad for business. I think the current fare is quite normal," he said.
Mustafa Çakır, another driver, says raises depend on inflation and customers should view it as a normal increase. "There are raises on the price of everything, including fuel," he added. Cemal Kartufan says he was happy with the raise but it led to a decline in the number of short-distance fares. "Raises should be once in a year. A sudden 25% raise challenges people. Even my family does not hail a cab now," he says. For customers, a raise can force people to seek alternatives. Ekrem Harputlu says more raises can drive people to "pirate" taxis operated illegally with unmarked cars. Akın Koçak, a frequent traveler, says drivers are right in asking for a raise but it is "bad for customers." "It is especially higher for short distances. We pay at least TL 10 for a distance not even 1 kilometer. There should be a change in short-distance fees," he said.