ISTANBUL, Turkey (ViaNews) – Turkish people seem pretty satisfied with the new alternatives being offered, ever since Uber started operating in the country. Considering the unfairly demanding prices and famously vulgar attitudes from some of the taxi drivers in Turkey, it’s not surprising that Turkey is one of Uber’s largest growth markets,
A metropolitan such as Istanbul needs to take prospective steps and using intelligent transportation systems. Traffic congestion statistics for Istanbul based on TomTom’s historical database for 2016 shows congestion level high as 49%. That is mainly because even though a good deal of people uses the public transportation system, there’s still not enough demand for alternatives, such as using bicycles to commute.
Uber is somewhat warmly welcomed by Turkish people. Going back a few years, owning a taxi plate license provided its owner with a good source of income, and was a recognised sustainable investment option. The cost of owning a taxi license fee was 951,000 Lira (TRY) in 2012. When taxi licenses owners chose to rent them out to others, they would receive a return of 50,000 Lira.
Uber has challenged and changed this monopoly. From 2016 to 2017, the monthly demand for travelling by Uber cars increased 4,5 times in Turkey, a fairly high increase, even taking into account that Uber doubled its global expansion.
In an interview on Diken, a Turkish independent news organisation, the main opposition party’s İstanbul representative, Akif Hamzaçebi. stated that: “In Istanbul alone, there are 17.395 taxi drivers, this number increases up to 225.000 taxi drivers country-wide. It’s a major source of income for nearly a million people. Global companies like Uber want to take over the market. They are almost like global thieves. Also, it is unknown whether they pay taxes or not.”
However, Bahadırlı, the chief executive of Uber in Turkey, explains that “Uber is registered to Turkish tax system and has an office in İstanbul.”
Uber is not the only competitor in the sector. In December 2017, a new taxi service started providing a more luxury experience for customers in Istanbul, while also trying to outclass Uber and unregistered operators (Known as “pirate taxis”). The new taxis had up to nine passengers capacity, were equipped with a mini bar, and were quite expensive with little to offer to the average customer, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
The Atatürk Airport Taxi Drivers Cooperative said it has started to offer the luxury transportation services in order to counter unlicensed taxis. “Our aim is to fight against Uber and unlicensed taxis. We also want to prevent taxi drivers from unfairly demanding higher prices,” Lami As, one of the drivers of the new luxury taxis told state-run Anadolu Agency.
As of yet, may people seem to use and abide by the general agreement among Uber users, rather than using the traditional taxi system. Turkish people general sentiment is they are tired of cunning taxi drivers who often find a long-winded route to make the customer pay more while they make an extra profit. Another strong reason is the sometimes impolite behaviour or their endless chit-chats about personal matters which the customer couldn’t care less about.