Istanbul is unique. It is the only city in the world where two continents meet. Enjoy old and new in the cultural capital of Turkey with Istanbul expert Marc Guillet

Taxis in Istanbul: do’s & don’ts

Posted on 29 September 2019

Taxi’s in Istanbul. Photo: Slawomira Kozieniec

Here are my do’s and don’ts when using taxis in Istanbul. Based on my own experiences and those of friends and other visitors who send me their experiences on my site.

I have met a lot of nice, helpful and friendly taxi drivers in Istanbul. But there are also cabbies in this city who want to make some extra money of the ‘rich’ “yabancılar” (foreigners) in an unfair way. Beware of these ‘cowboys’!

1. All taxis have meters. The meter starts standard at 6 Turkish Lira (TL) and charges 3.25 TL per km.

2. There is no night rate.

3. Always pay in Turkish Lira’s. Those who pay in euro’s or U.S. dollars always pay at an unfair exchange rate.

4. Almost all cabbies in the city think that they are Michael Schumacher in a Formula One car on a racetrack. They drive like crazy, but cause seldom accidents, as most other Turks drive in the same style. Always put your seat belt on, even if the driver looks at you as if he’s insulted with a macho look of ‘don’t you think I can drive?’

5. Always have enough coins, banknotes of 5, 10 and 20 Turkish Lira in your pocket. If you pay with 50 TL, taxi drivers often try their infamous exchange trick. They act as if you gave them 5 TL instead of 50 and you have to pay again because you can’t prove anymore that you gave him a 50 TL bill.

6. Never open your wallet sitting in the front seat. It often happens that cabbies grab into your wallet to ‘help’ you getting out your foreign bank notes.

7. Step out of the car if the driver is rude and write down his taxi number. Give that to the desk of the hotel. Istanbul earns a lot of money from tourism so it is in the interest of the city authorities to preserve Istanbul’s image as a tourist friendly, welcoming place. So complaints will eventually have an effect. Call the municipality White Desk with your complaint. Call: 153.

8. Take official yellow cabs only, with the logo and the official number of the company on both front doors. Don’t trust friendly strangers who say they will find you a cab. Prepare yourself well. Take a serious look at the city map and find out where your hotel and most important places are located, so you have a general idea of the direction a cabbie should take going from A to B. Take always a business card of the hotel you are staying, so you can show the address to the driver, and he may – if he really doesn’t know the address – make a phone call to the hotel.

9. Use the Google Map GPS function on your smart phone to see in which direction your cabbie is driving.

10. Download the app BİTAKSİ on your smart phone! It is very easy to use. You can see where the closest taxi is and they are all registered. You can see the name of the taxi driver too!

11. Almost none of the cabbies speak English. Those who do are quick to ask personal questions. You’re in charge, don’t feel intimidated. If you’re not comfortable answering those questions don’t feel obliged to answer them.

In February 2018 prosecutors in Istanbul were demanding up to 10 years in jail for a taxi driver who cheated a Saudi tourist extending a trip to the airport in a ridiculous long way.  He has been accused of committing “aggravated fraud.”

They started their trip Kadıköy, a district on the Asian side of Istanbul, to go to the Sabiha Gökçen Airport, also on the Asian side.

The cabbie took the victim over the Bosphorus to the European side via the 3rd Bridge, before returning to the Asian side. The tourist missed his flight home and filed a criminal complaint at a police station.

Taxi’s in Istanbul. Photo Anneke de Leeuw

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162 responses to “Taxis in Istanbul: do’s & don’ts”

  1. Effeminate says:

    Thanks, Marc. Good pieces of advice.

    Folks, watch out, especially when drunk, regarding the difference between 5 lira notes and 50 lira notes. They are quite similar in color. My wallet’s main section has 2 parts. I always put 5 lira notes and 50 lira notes in different parts.

  2. msbx says:

    The vast majority of cabbies are honest and hard working individuals. That being said…

    Writing down a number for rude, unsafe or predator drivers does not provide any reliable evidence as to who one is dealing with, although it’s better than nothing if you can remember to do it.

    A better approach is to always be proactive. Routinely get information before you might need it. A cellphone with a camera is very helpful in this respect. Use the camera to take a pic of the outside door of the cab where license plate is written. The name and possibly the phone number of the cab company will be there also. (I as a matter of practice don’t get into cabs without some ‘company’ affiliation.) Another pic or short video clip of the driver will be essential if you need to be able to identify him. That is a more delicate act which takes a little bit more skill as a photographer.

    If you don’t speak the language the phone can also be used to call others as who are bilingual, that tip can be used for all circumstances while in Turkey. Have several other people you can call, with varied personality types depending on the situation. I’d use the external speaker so the driver can hear if I’d have a phone I didn’t want to lose. In real practice, I hand my cheap phone over for them to use.

    If you would insist on wearing a seat belt, don’t shut the door until you confirm there is an operable seat belt at the ready. Seat belts are so rarely used by Turks that it can take a couple of minutes to retrieve the belt from under the back seat and that’s a moot and near impossible feat once the cab is rolling.

    You are hiring the cab. First thing is to let the driver know that you are not in a hurry and he is to drive safely or he’s not gonna retain your business. They’re still gonna have to drive a little crazy according to Western norms because after all, this is Turkey and there isn’t effectively any traffic laws due to lack of traffic enforcement. Stop signs and lines on the road are truly seen as suggestions only, not rules. Drivers seem to be in telepathic negotiation with other drivers whilst using their cars as one would use ones’ body in a crowd. Somehow it works, get used to it.

    Habitually carry small notes with not even the slightest rip in them, do not be prepared to give more than you are willing to lose. Most cabbies and even store merchants never seem to have change. Also, as far as 50s are concerned.. I’ve had a cabby hand one back after taking it and shopping unsuccessfully for change… he gave back a fake 50 to my Turkish friend. So, it’s not just us yabancilar (strangers\foreigners) that get screwed over.

    • Marc says:

      Thanks for sharing.
      Great tips!

    • Rudy says:

      Be careful guys. My taxi driver ripped off by charging double the price. He said it was night fare. Also, I gave him a 130 TL but he said that I only gave him 30 TL. I think he threw it under his seat or something. I was tired and I did not pay attention. So I gave him an extra 100 TL without knowing it. So I ended up paying 230 TL for a tril worth 50 LB. I did not know so make sure it won’t happen to you.

      • Nicole says:

        Me too, charge me triple.. In the end I paid 300 lira. Bad experience..

      • Arman says:

        Happened to me also,180TL from Grand Bazaar to Hotel for only 8km then he said I only pay him 80Tl and again have to pay another 100Tl,Istanbul is a city with lots of cheaters.

  3. If you are a foreigner i reccomend first , always to use the cabs who are belonging to a taxi stand (durak taksi). You will see the logo of there stand on the both sides of the doors. When there is a logo on the door, the taxi belongs to a taxi stand. I trust the “logo taxi’s” more then the others who have not as a local and a tourist guide in Istanbul…

  4. Jonathan says:

    Hi Guys,

    Nice to meet you here. I went to Istanbul for a conference last week. Before I go, I read the tips. But for only once I took taxi, I encountered the most serious scam, of couse not mentioned above at all, and still I don’t think that scam makes any sense. The taxi driver not only charged for more money, but also were taking me to a place far away from my destination. I would like to share my story with you all.

    In my last day in Istanbul, I wanted to go to Spice Market/Egyption Market to buy something. It is quite near to conference venue (Hilton Istanbul, near Taksim). I planned to go by walk as it was a short distance, but I only had 1 hour to go that day, so I decided to take a taxi to go there faster. I was advised from my friends that I must fix the price before getting on the taxi and without using meter, because if I used meter, taxi driver would surely go around making the trip longer and there was nothing I can do.

    So I took a taxi just arrived at Hilton Istanbul (it was a normal yellow car, but I didn’t notice the company of the taxi), I fixed the price with him before getting on the car. It was 25 lira. I knew clearly that he asked for higher price, but I was in a hurry and I thought that he would take me to destination faster, so 25 lira was acceptable. I was quite relaxed at first. Ten minutes later I found something wrong because it shouldn’t be that long. So I used my iPhone Google Map GPS function, and then I identified that he was going around and driving towards south (Grand Barzaar direction, but I’m not sure whether he was going toward there). I explained to him that I was going to Spice Market/Egyption Market, not Grand Bazaar, showing my Google Map, he said he knew where the Spice Market/Egyption Market was, but when I asked why he is driving to opposite direction (showing with Google Map), he started to pretend to be confused, just saying we would arrive soon, just there, in 3-5 minutes. Then I said you were taking me to a place far away from Spice Market/Egyption Market, he said he knew where Spice Market/Egyption Market. Then I said I need to take a flight in 1 hour, he said Spice Market was not a place I could finish shopping in 1 hour. Right before he was going to cross the bridge, Galata Kpr., I said I must get off the car, and he said OK it’s fine. I didn’t have time to confront with him, so I paid 25 lira. Then I finally get off and walked back a long distance. I didn’t dare to take another taxi.

    So the whole thing confused me is because he asked for more money, and still didn’t take me to destination. Till now I don’t understand where he was driving towards. My friends gave several guesses, kidnapping me, going to a shop his family opened, or going to a very far place and charging much more money to take me back. I think only the next people who take his taxi can find out.

    From my own experience, for many scams, there is no solution at all. Many of the solutions proposed are not useful because the taxi drivers know how to cheat. If you use the meter, he could drive longer. If you fix the price without meter, he can take you far away. If he is not going towards your destination, there is nothing you can do, because he is driving, not you. If you want to call the police, unless you know the number of the car, otherwise how could police find you. Therefore the best choice is to avoid taking taxi, rather taking public transport and walking. Some taxi drivers, they are thinking about how to cheat everyday, and not that easy to deal with, you must know.

    • Fatima says:

      Hello Jonathan,
      I experience same things my sister and I, our hotel was in Sultan Ahmed and the restaurant was about 10 minutes away we took the 1st taxi and he said his broke down and force me to pay him 10 TR and the 2nd taxi took us but it look like they communicate with eatch other about my sister and I beeing 2 ladies alone, the 2nd taxi took us for a two hours trip, finaly i had to ask to taxi driver to stop and ask for direction at near by hotels,that my sister and I refuses to ride with him but instead I walk to the police station and complain, the taxi driver drove behind us to the police station and agreed to take us back to the hotel for just 20 TR, i had horifiying moment. in the end i felt i was smarter than him because he mess with the wrong person, I posted the both taxi drivers plates numbers so peoples can be alert.
      thanks for reading my story, by the way I’m learning Turkish because i’m going back on may 2014 🙂

    • Mustafa says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      I live in Turkey. I read whole the story. There is only one know Spice Bazaar/Egyptian Bazaar in Turkey. If you ask someone to go Spice Market, he will understand the one in Eminonü (which is pretty close to Grand Bazaar and you should across the Galata Bridge)and the price is quite OK). If you asked me the direction of Spice Market, I would tell you the same as the taxi driver.

      Please note that, taxi drivers in Turkey are able to do such things (not the one you mention). They drive badly etc.

    • @parlo_turco says:

      Jonathan, the taxi driver was taking you to the right place; in fact, you got off shortly before your destination that is on the other side of Galata bridge.
      The price you fixed is double than the normal one though; in fact, I’m not sure at all that fixing a price in advance is a good piece of advice if you have no idea about the normal fare and it may harm much more than the occasionaly crooked taxi driver.

  5. Bahadir Uzun says:

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  6. Safina says:

    Hi i just came across this post and had to out my experience out there to see if its happened to anyone else. We are currently in Istanbul and we first took a taxi to The Blue Mosque. When paying the driver we handed over two 20 TL notes. He then began handing them back and saying ‘problem money’. Looking at them they had a tiny rip in them. Myself and my mother were surprised to see that because we had just got fresh notes from the exchange bureau. We brushed this under the carpet.

    Today on the way back from Cevhair Mall, we again handed over two 20 TL notes. The driver may not have noticed me looking but he slyly ripped the notes and began handing them back again claiming this was ‘problem money’. I refused to take them back and shouted saying I have just seen you do that. But the language differences didn’t help. I took the money back this time, I got out the taxi, and then handed him the money.

    Is there a particular reason behind this? I don’t understand why they do that!

    • Marc says:

      Hi Safina, very annoying indeed.
      Thanks for sharing this with all of us.
      To be honest I have no clue why they do that, so I put this question on Twitter and Facebook.
      Let’s see who comes up with an explanation.
      Enjoy your stay in Istanbul.

    • Zonda says:

      The taxi driver intentionally did that because he was hoping that you would not have another 20 lira. He wants the bigger money like 50 TL or 100 TL. So if you give him 100 TL, especially in a hurry, he will quickly ‘switch’ (you will not believe how fast) your 100 TL with his 20 TL and start asking for the right amount of money. In the end you will end up paying more as you get confused and thinking that you gave him the wrong note.

      That’s what happened last night.

      I will start using UBER even though its gonna cost me more.

    • Melissa says:

      Hi! That happened to us this morning from sultan Ahmet. Taxi driver first over charged us – about 65TL for a 30-35TL ride. He pressed some buttons and the number in the end showed 65TL. Then when we handed a 100TL note, he handed it back saying it’s ripped, and to check it with the bank. Later that day, we realised it was a fake note he handed back.

      The whole experience left us with a very poor taste of Istanbul, and we will probably avoid people for the remainder of the trip.

  7. W. Serter says:

    Hey Marc, I would highly recommend to download the app BİTAKSİ for everyone who has a smart phone! It is very easy to use, you can see where the closest taxi is and they are all registered. You can see the name of the taxi driver too! So far, we only had very positive experiences!!!!

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  14. Chris says:

    We had a few cab drivers asking for 80 TL fares what should have been 15.

    We took Uber Taxis and XXL cars everywhere for 1 week.

    The wait was never longer than 5 minutes and if you request a Taxi they are currently running a promotion and you only pay 20% off the metered fare.

    The nice thing it was all cash less, no haggling and they always turned on the meter.

    It also made communication easier as we just typed in the landmarks or restaurant after requesting a car.

  15. john says:

    Point 2 is incorrect. Taximeter 1. is Gündüz or daytime 2. is Gece or nighttime en more expensive.

  16. Rowena says:

    Here are the full details of my complaint of what happened on Sunday 1st March, around 9.45 – 10.15pm with the taxi driver:

    First of all, I had been sightseeing all day with my friend, and when we both returned to the hotel in the evening, we both fell asleep. I woke up around 8.30pm but my friend stayed asleep and I was using wifi for about an hour while I was waiting for my friend to wake up, but she didn’t and I started to get hungry.
    I didn’t want to wake my friend up, so I wrote her a note to tell her that I was going out for food. I left my hotel (Diva’s Hotel, Sultanahmet) around 9.30pm and headed towards the town – I’m not sure what the road name is, but it’s not far from the blue mosque and the fountain. It is where the trams pass and there are restaurants nearby. I was walking and looking at what restaurants were nearby, near a taxi stop where somebody at the taxi stop asked if I wanted a taxi. I said to him that I was looking for a nice rooftop terrace restaurant. He tapped on the window of the first taxi and asked me to explain to the taxi driver where I wanted to go. I explained that I wanted to go to a nice rooftop terrace restaurant and asked if he knew any good ones. He said yes, he’ll take me to one. Then I asked where it was, and he told me “Asia side” near the Bosphorus bridge. I then asked how much it would cost to get there, and the taxi driver said its on a meter. But I said to him that I want to know approximately how much it we be about before I got in his taxi. He then replied that it will be around 35-40 Turkish Lire, so I said that was okay, and got in his taxi.
    I thought he was a friendly taxi driver at first, as he was asking where I was from so I told him Manchester, UK.
    Then he asked my name and where I’d been in Istanbul, so I told him I’d been sightseeing and went to the blue mosque, topkapi palace etc… and that I had booked a cookery class the following day (he didn’t understand what cookery class meant).
    He then stopped at a petrol station and apologised that he won’t be long, and put 50 Turkish Lire of petrol in the taxi. Then got back in and asked if it was okay for him to smoke in the car. I said it was okay as long as he could keep the windows open as I am a non-smoker and don’t like the smell of smoke, which he did. He carried on driving, and asked where else I’d been in Istanbul, and I mentioned that I went to the grand bazaar, and had dinner at a restaurant in Taxim the previous night. He mentioned that Taxim is not a safe area, and that the restaurant he was taking me to is in a safe area, so again I thought he was being nice. I asked if there were any Turkish baths he recommended, and he told me to go to the hamman at Haghia Sofia. I noticed that he’d already passed the Bosphorus bridge, so I asked how far the restaurant was and he said “not far”.
    About 5 minutes later, I noticed the streets where he was driving me to seemed to be quieter and darker, and I started to get scared wondering where he was taking me to. I asked how much longer to the restaurant, and he said 5 minutes. I asked how come it’s so far, and that I thought it was supposed to be quite close to the Bosphorus bridge and that we passed that a while ago, and he said he’s taking me to Asia side. Then I asked how much is it on the meter and he said “190 Turkish lire”. I was very shocked and said why is it that much, and why has he taken me so far when he told me it was going to be 35-40TL before I got in the taxi.
    I asked him to immediately turn the car round and take me back as he’d gone too far.
    I was very scared and rang my boyfriend who was in the UK. I explained the situation to him and asked him to stay on the phone with me as I was scared and didn’t know what to do and where I was as I was in a different country. He was keeping me calm and asked if I recognised any of the roads, how much it was costing etc… and told me to get a picture of the drivers number plate. The taxi driver turned his head a couple of times while I was on the phone – I was still very scared at this stage, as it was just me and him in the car, but felt a little reassured to hear my boyfriends voice, even though there was not much he could’ve done as he was all the way in England. My boyfriend later asked how much longer before I get out the taxi, so I asked the driver, and he said about 10-15 minutes. I then recognised the Bosphorus bridge, and knew that I was getting closer. However, I no longer wanted to stay in that taxi another 10-15 minutes as I just wanted to get out. I told the taxi driver to just stop at the nearest tram stop immediately. He stopped on a main road, and there was a tram stop across the road. I got off the phone to my boyfriend, and the meter said 400 TL, but I gave him 70TL.
    He asked me for the rest, and I said that’s all I had and that I’d already given him double of what he originally told me it was going to be. He said No, and that I need to pay him 400 Lire’s. I said I don’t have that sort of money, and he pointed to the cash machine just near where he had stopped the car. At that point, all I wanted to do was to get out of the taxi. I walked to the cash machine, and withdrawn 50TL. I walked back to the taxi, where the passenger seat window was down. I said to him, “Here is 120TL. 100 is for you, and I need the other 20 to get myself back to the hotel. He said No, and that I owed him 400TL. I told him that he said it was 40TL before I got in his taxi and that me paying him 100TL is already too much. He opened the passenger door from his driver seat and asked me to get in his taxi, and waving his hands saying “come here! And get in the car”. I was very scared, said No and ran off towards the tram stop. I ran towards 2 of the men who were working at the tram stop and told them very briefly what happened, and they had seen how shaken up I was. They asked if I had the taxi drivers number plate, and I said no. They asked me to point out where the taxi was, and when we walked over, he had already driven off. We walked back to the platform and there was a young Turkish couple with a Spanish lady. The man who worked at the tram stop asked me to explain the situation to the 3 people (1 man and 2 women) on the platform as their English was better than his, so I did and the 3 people said they would get the tram to sultanahmet with me and walk me back to my hotel.
    As we were on the tram, they asked where I got the taxi from and whether I would recognise the driver or not. They said they can take me to the police station to report it.
    We arrived at sultanahmet, and walked towards the stop where I got the taxi from. As we reached to the very first taxi, it was the same driver – i said to the 3 people I was with, “It’s him”. The man then spoke to the driver in Turkish, so I didn’t know what they were talking about. At that point, I took a picture of his registration plate. I asked the Turkish girl what the taxi driver was saying to her boyfriend, as her boyfriend was very calm, but the driver seemed aggressive and because they were helping me out, I didn’t want anything bad to happen to them as I was just glad that I got out that taxi and felt like I’d got my life back. The girl said that the driver was saying that I asked to go to the best restaurant, so he took me there and brought me back for 50TL each way, and if I can’t afford 100TL, then why was I asking to go the best restaurant. I then said to the taxi driver that he was a liar because he told me it would be about 40TL, and he tried to charge me 400TL, but I’d given him 100TL. Two other taxi drivers got out of their taxi, and they were all speaking in Turkish so I didn’t understand what was being said. Then one of the other drivers gave me 50 TL, so i got half of my money back, and I said to the 3 people who were with me, that it was okay and that I didn’t want to cause any trouble to them because they helped me a lot. I said that I just wanted the other drivers to be aware what that driver did to me so that it hopefully wouldn’t happen to other foreigner passengers in the future.
    The 3 people walked me back to my hotel, and I was very grateful for what they did.
    I couldn’t sleep till about 3am that night as it was going through my mind over and over again, and during my cookery class the day after, it was constantly on my mind and I was trying not to cry. I am back in England now and still have nightmares about it. I didn’t know what he was going to do to me, what his intentions were, and all I can think about now is him driving me so far in the middle of nowhere and raping me. Maybe it’s me thinking of the worst situation, but it really has left me very scared, as I didn’t know at the time if I was ever going to return to UK to see my family again.

    This is a picture of his registration plate number: (34 TAR 55)

    And this is a picture of where I got the taxi from in sultanahmet.

    I just hope it doesn’t happen to anybody else because it was one of the worst and scariest moments of my life.

    situations like this can put people off visiting a country, but I know there are good and bad people all over the world and it can happen to anyone and anywhere in the world. What the taxi driver has done, is giving Istanbul and the people a very bad name.
    But the Turkish couple who helped me and walked me all the way back to my hotel, I cannot thank enough, and I really appreciate all their help. However after this situation, I will never visit Turkey ever again as I don’t feel it’s a safe country and don’t want any more bad memories like this to happen to me again.

    Sent from my iPhone

  17. Nina Lee says:

    Thanks for the tips, Istanbul is amazing, truly Eastern fairy-tale) I had been to it for 3 times and I always used the same taxi company, with real European service, proffessional drivers and comfortable cabbies ( ). Never took a cab straight from the street just because I am a young woman and I am afraid to travel alone in that way)

  18. Lauren says:

    These are great tips to know if visiting Istanbul. Thanks for sharing!

  19. zeki says:

    Hi All;
    if you need a “safe”,”trustable”and a”comfortable” taxi(economic-with taximeter) or Mercedes Vito(luxury)
    7/24 please call:00 90 542 433 77 41 ………… Turkey :0542 433 77 41.
    Check the meter during your ride and please write down the taxi’s license number before you get in.
    safe drive-safe driver.

  20. Emma says:

    Hi all,
    I have just had an identical experience to that outlined by Safina above. My friend and I caught a taxi from Grand Bazaar to the British Embassy. Everything seemed fine with the drive until we arrived at the embassy and I handed the driver two brand new (I purchased all my currency in Aus last week and all the notes were new) 20 lira notes, for the total fare of 38 lira or thereabouts. The taxi driver then handed them back “problem” and pointed to two rips in the notes, I then proceeded to give another two notes without thought to which he returned “problem” again pointing to small tips on the notes. The third time nu friend and I carefully inspected another two notes, handing them over and then having them passed back with rips in. At this stage we were so frustrated we gave him 50 lira to which (surprise surprise) he didn’t have correct change for. This was so disappointing as we expected that the notes would be unusable, however upon a visit to our friendly currency exchange we swapped the notes over for fresh ones without an issue. Has anyone had similar experiences?
    Thanks, next time I think we might stand up for ourselves a little more but as two young females of English speaking background these situations become very intimidating!


  21. NecO says:

    Just download the app: ‘Hey Taxi!’, and the app estimates the costs for you 😉 you can also see the distance and works even if you dont have internet!

  22. Lesley Figueroa says:

    We are in turkey now and had the weirdest experience with a cab driver. He charged us 49TL (total rip off but he was the only cab in site so we dealt with it) when we got to our destination we handed him 220s and a 10 then seconds later he handed us our money back ripped and was yelling at us that we needed to give him new bills. We could be mistaken but we swear they we we handed him 2 20s and 10. Seconds later he was yelling at us that we gave him ripped bills. He throws the money is in the bills were in fact ripped. We definitely did not hand Him ripped money. The 3 bills were ripped in the same place so it was obvious he ripped them. seconds later he was yelling at us that we gave him ripped bills. He throws the money is in the bills were in fact ripped. We definitely did not hand him ripped money. We got out of the cab and he was yelling and screaming. It was definitely a scam but we’re still confused as to what he was doing! Any thoughts?

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  24. JJ says:

    I would like to share my travel experience at Istanbul Grand Bazaar taxi station. Incident happened on 18/7/2015 around 2.20pm.

    We went to a taxi station in front of the bazaar and agreed with a driver at EUR 35 fare for ride to airport. He is about 40 years old man, big eyes with beard, short hair, around 173cm and medium size.

    First, he claimed he has very poor English and have difficulty to communicate with us. Then he took out EUR 15 handed it to my husband and asked for EUR 50. He said that money changer only accepted big amount notes, need to change before 2.30pm because of Ramadan (Islamic Festival). We told him we only have EUR 35, and refused to give him bigger note. After few conversations, my husband took out one EUR 50 note, and the driver grabbed from him just like a flash. He teared the right side of the note (we couldn’t see, it’s too fast) and told us money changers won’t accept this note and asked for another EUR 50. We were thinking what happen to this man?! What he wants?!

    My husband took back the broken EUR 50 note and refused to let him take the money from his hand or wallet. This time the driver stopped the car at road side and told us our agreed the taxi fare was EUR 35 per person instead. Coincidentally, another driver came offers us for a ride. And my husband returned him the EUR 15 he gave at first, we changed another taxi. After we moved our luggages to the taxi and check again the notes in hand. We noticed our EUR 50 became a old EUR 10 note. Out of sight he switched the note with a EUR 10 note he had ready! Then we released that’s the reason he has been asking more EUR 50 notes from us. That’s what he wanted! He wanted to know how much money we have in pocket or handbag. The best part is how he can switch the EUR 50 to EUR 10 and when?! This was horrible! Please beware of this conman taxi driver in Istanbul.

  25. Zeki says:

    l am official airport taxi driver
    İF you need taxi or mercedes van please 7/24 call me 00 90 542 433 77 41.
    “Safe driver, safe driving”

  26. Ichrak says:


    I will arrive to Ataturk International Airport next week at 18h30 , and I would like to directly go to Yeditepe University. I’m a young women and I’ll be alone.
    Do you think it’s safe for me to take a taxi ? How much would the ride approximately cost ? What do you advise me to “safely” take a taxi ?
    Are there Havatas from Ataturk to Kadikoy ?
    What’s the best way for me to use to go from the airport to Yeditep ?
    I’m very worried after reading all those stories about taxis in Istanbul on Internet !
    Thanks for your help !

  27. Friends!! I have been in and out of Turkey for far too long and even though I absolutely love Turkey and more specifically Istanbul, I almost return with a feeling guilt of having been fleeced. For one I do not understand why do Turkish Hotels quote a price in Euros and then charge your card with TL (mind you while doing that they use their own exchange rate), it’s an absolute rip-off and quite obviously the Turkish Authorities are least interested to mediate. This to me is a major scam in the country and each day Tourists rather unknowingly are ripped off. The other scam is the Vat Refund for Tourists (you are made to wait for hours in anticipation at the airport by the Customs staff and honestly who is got that time), inspite of the fact that I visit the country so often and shop I have never been successful in getting a Vat Refund in Turkey…..I would like to take up these issues with the Authorities but know certainly will not help since this is an issue that can only thrive with the cognizance of local authorities, the foreign currency scam in Turkey reminds one of the Nigerian scams…..LOL and the Turks don’t consider themselves any less than Europeans

    • Tue says:

      How can you love this shit hole? It is a poor excuse for a city. If it wasn’t for the strong religion here, this place would be an animal zoo

  28. AndyW says:

    We’re in Istanbul right now and just got conned by the thieving bastard driving cab number 34 TJS 75. To begin with he asked for 50 TRY for what should have been about a 20 TRY fare. I handed him a 50 TRY note which went out of sight and was replaced by a 5 TRY note that he claimed I had given him. After a big argument I ended up giving him another 50 TRY note to avoid more confrontation. Avoid this cab driver at all costs. Better still, give his car a big scratch if you see it – I certainly will! We’re staying at the Hilton, but they’re not interested in helping us report it.

  29. Shaik says:

    Some of fucking drivers manhandling and stealing money also in instanul, they want haram money to feed their family and troble other family , instead then can request and beg from passengers
    Be careful if alone Istanbul

  30. Hello,i’m from indonesia i found your blog using key word “Taxi’s in Istanbul.” i’m agree with your artikel. This is good artikel. this article and article you are very helpful to us. maybe my bad english, but unfortunately very commented to you. For this one I really helped. once again I’m sorry if I do not correct grammar I use google translate your blog to comment on this. Agen Resmi SBOBET

  31. Aamir says:

    i am going istanbul tomorrow, with three kids and family. hotel is in sultanahmet, should i take taxi service online? they are charging 61 euro for return service. meaning in 61 euros we will go hotel with luggage and kids and come back to airport when we leave istanbul?

  32. Neil says:

    The note ripping scam (described abovrle)has hit me twice now. Driver stole 50 lira from me. I’ve had it with these idiots. I hope uber destroys them. Istanbul is a nightmare of scammers and con-artists.

  33. Gagrani says:

    The Taxi’s in Istanbul are cheat…unless you hire private cars from Hotel or any good reliable sources..
    The driver will pretend , he does not speak EWnglish… will try to drop you at isolated place and ask for more fare
    if your fare is 30 lira, will ask for 62 lira..
    … and if you give 100 Lira.. he will claim that you gave him 20 lira and and start speaking in Turkish.. Allaha.. Alahha..
    be carefull…

  34. Rabab says:


    Thank you all for these precious information. In fact, I want to ask if we are two people, do we have to pay the taxi twice, or the price is for both?

  35. Valter says:

    I am not sure if this will help anyone, but I was scammed yesterday by replacing banknotes and the car had fake taximeter. The registration of the taxi is 34 TKF 34

  36. Hasan says:

    Hi, I was in Istanbul last week and I experinced a taxi problem. I looked for a taxi from Taqseem Square to the Spice Market. He told me we will use the meter for that and I told him fine. During the driving he was showing me around the places and street, he even advice me not to ride taxi because it is expensive and they can cheat on you. I thought since I am using my phone to see the distination on map, he can not cheat me. I was wrong because I saw everything ok on the map but when we reached to the market the meter reading was 56 tl. I was shocked how this happened. But still, I gave him 60 tl (50+10) and he notify me not to forget my stuff on the car. Then, he told me sir you give me different money, he was showing me a 10 and 5 tl in his hand. I said I am sorry and I might be wrong, I took the 5 tl and give him 50 again. I noticed that is a cheat when he again said sir you give me wrong money and show me again the same 10 and 5 tl. I realized that is cheating (very late) and shouted on him why you are like this and are you happy this way. I looked for a police but I found no body. I had no problem with money but I feel really angry about the way they keep cheating people.

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  40. l am official airport taxi driver
    İF you need taxi or mercedes van please 7/24 call me 00 90 542 433 77 41.
    “Safe driver, safe driving”

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  43. Taxi fares says:

    Another tip for foreigners: Use just before taking a taxi from airiport, hotel or restaurant. It will help you to avoid potential taxi scams in Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and other metropolitan areas in Turkey.

  44. Jennifer Woodhull says:

    I just spent a layover in Istanbul, and got horribly ripped off by the “Hotel Transfer” desk in the airport. Having read this site beforehand, I was scared to use a regular taxi—plus after a 12-hour flight and anticipating another, I was exhausted and tearful (on my way to a family funeral). So I let myself be persuaded by the glib fellow at the airport kiosk (it was an Official Airport Kiosk, so it had to be OK, right?) to pay 200 lira for a round trip to a hotel five minutes away. That cost me more than the room itself. The hotel people were horrified when they heard … I can’t find this outfit on Trip Advisor, or I’d send out a warning to all. The business name on the receipt is “Tuvi Turizm.” Let the user beware.

  45. Coco says:

    I just had the worst experience ever in Istanbul.

    01/11/16 3:15 am:I and two other of my friends board a taxi from Hilton Kozyatagi to the European side.First we stopped at the filling station for cigarettes then continued on our trip. Along the way my friends got into an heated argument, got really loud and touchy. As one of them was in the front and the other behind, I tried to go in between and stop them, along the line my hand touched the driver, but there was no cause for alarm cause I didn’t hit him deliberately, it was a mistake. But he hit my hand back really hard and in a fit of irritation I yelled at him that he should’ve known that I was trying to stop the fight as I’ve been quiet the whole trip, he got red and I kept mute.
    However, my friends went on bickering and I got really frustrated thus asked the taxi to pullover so I can take another taxi quietly home. He obliged and I got off the taxi, seeing as I was serious, my friends kept quiet and one of them came down and asked me to come back in. I did and we continued quietly to our destination.

    Immediately I got off I realized I had forgotten my phone. However I wasn’t sure if it was in the taxi or the the hotel. So immediately my friends called the hotel and they searched everywhere thrice but didn’t find nothing, which now left the taxi. So my friends immediately called the taxi station as they both speak Turkish, and he said he saw nothing but noted however that I may have dropped it on the bride when I got off the taxi. I immediately found his theory strange cause we made three stops and I got off at every stop, so if there was any chance I dropped it, the it would’ve been at the first stop not second or third.

    02/11/16 wee spent all day calling the taxi station and their story didn’t change. So I went to the police station and filed a complain.

    03/11/16 It dawned on me that google kept records of every places I went. So I log on to my google timeline, lo and behold, my phone continued on with the taxi to G118 Sk then went off. When I clicked the satellite the arrow pointed to a yellow car which was parked beside another yellow car. So what this means is that my phone was turned off in that car, and mind you I had 80% charge, so there’s no way it could’ve gone off on it’s own just cause we range it eleven time. So again my friend immediately called the taxi station and they claimed they didn’t know where G118 Sk was. Frustrated gain I went back to the police with the new found evidence. But, instead of getting to work with it, he starts making excuses for the cab driver, he claimed that the taxi may have had another customer whom may have taken the phone. I of course immediately refuted his claim, cause we asked the taxi and he said I was his last customer till 7 or 8am. Then the police said he couldn’t do nothing and that it was too far and blah blah blah, and that I should go back to the Asian side and speak to a police nearer to the taxi station that maybe they might be able to help. I promise I’m not making any of this up!

    Stunned and frustrated as crazy, we head back to the hotel. Ask them to take responsibility cause they called us the taxi, thankfully they obliged.

    The head security officer called the taxi station and asked for the car so they can go file a police report and the taxi guy said he didn’t know the number. The security guy then looked through their security system, saw the car number, called the taxi station back and demanded for the name and number of the guy who drove it at that time, finally they obliged. Then the security guy looked up the G118 Sk and it turned out to be a street right next to theirs, so he called them back, this time their story changed.

    The security guy gave us all we needed and asked us to go to the taxi station with the evidence, and if they still refuse to do the right thing then we should come back so he can file a police report.
    So we head on to the station, met our driver that night, but he still stuck with his bridge story until one of his colleague got mad at him and said look, the evidence says otherwise, then he changed his story, that he did in-fact stop at G118 Sk, but because he needed to wash his car, therefore the car wash guy must’ve taken the phone cause he didn’t.
    So he asked to take us to G118 and we obliged. On getting there he started arguing with the manager. Finally the manager said the guy that washed the guy was gonna resume work later,and that he was gonna ask him when he got there, although he was sure the boy didn’t take it and blah blah blah. And that he would call us later to let us know. So we head back to the taxi station, on sighting the taxi we used I jump in to search but the station manager comes out wailing, screaming that I’m gonna drive away their customers and that they are not thieves.
    Nevertheless, I retreated to my friends car while they went on talking in the office. My friend came back to the car then told me that the taxi driver said that, eh what were 3 girls doing leaving the hotel at that time, and that where’s the problem if my phone is missing, that can’t I simply forget and move on cause after all my friends were fighting over 5000tl they took from the hotel. Needless to say I was stunned! And for clarity sake, my friends were fighting cause one of them claimed the other uploaded an ugly picture of her on instagram, lol.

    4/11/16 Till date none of the parties has gotten back to us with any kind of feedback. Gas stations here have cameras I think, so I don’t understand why the police won,t help.
    I am beyond frustrated as I’m suppose to go back to school next week, and my paper I was writing is all stored on that hone with no other way to access it. However, I will not let this end like this. I must either get my phone back or justice.

    And to all visitors, steer clear of Istanbul taxis, they are mean af! It cost 50tl to rent a car a day and 5tl for parking. And of course free at restaurants and all.

  46. Nojan says:

    Accurate points!

    I was caught with No. 6 as the driver took a 50TL bill out of my wallet instead of a 5 and said “tamam!” And I only noticed it when he was gone :))

  47. The point number 10, makes who in the taxi so secured because we have all information the taxi driver, im sorry if my english so bad, im use google translate…lol

  48. mis says:

    Our taxi driver had “fixed” his taxametre so beware that can happen too. And he scsmed more money from me by saying that I had given him 20 note instead of 100.

  49. Koger says:

    Taxi’s are sitting outside the port waiting to give tourist rides. Our’s was a english speaking turkish man approx 65 years old. My husband, son age 10 and myself asked to go to Spice Market. Driver insisted he drop us off at his cousins run shop first, even though we all said NO, just to Spice market. He drove us into a neighborhood, where his cousins greeted us curbside and escorted us into their shop and locked the doors behind us. We were presented rugs starting at $10,000. When we realized we weren’t going to be let go until we purchased something, we asked what was the least expensive item they were selling. They showed us a small table runner made of silk and we purchased it for $150 US dollars and they let us out where the taxi pulled up to get us. It was then that he drove us to the Spice Market, after he forcefully took us through their scam. Caution to all traveling from a cruise ship in Instanbul port!

  50. Susanne Dougherty says:

    Our one experience of a yellow cab in Istanbul was excellent. Driver was very fair, and took us on a cruise of agreed stops. When we changed our minds to include a trip to the other continent he explained about the toll and pointed out how it works. He was enthusiastic, informative, and straight. Did not charge extra when we went over time due to traffic jam on way back to ship.
    We think he made a little extra as we picked up a ‘friend’ at one of our stops, but this had no impact on our arrangement.
    One thing I would add to your advice is, if you have booked a couple of hours for a tour and it includes stops to look around, photograph your taxi number and your pick-up spot in case you get lost. The taxis all look the same. Our chap was spot on. Had no problem with him at all, including photos of taxi, him, him with us, took photos of us, etc. We were very happy.

  51. Bobo says:

    Hi, I am a tourist from India and I so agree with his article. It happened with me last night. Took a cab from Sultanhamet to Ataturk and was stunned to see the metre as 248 TL. The driver was driving like a F1 racer and also had a friend with him in the car. The friend looked drunk. He stopped little far away from my destination in a little less crowded place and told me that my hotel is there and he can stop here. First I asked him how is the metre so high, he became a bit aggressive and told me you come by metre, you pay by metre… When I was paying him, I gave him a 100 TL and a 50 TL and in a jiffy he tells me that BRO, you have given me only 10 and 5. He switched it as I blinked. I couldn’t argue coz I wanted to get to my hotel. So I landed up paying him again. This is attrociously robbery. Something needs to be done as Istanbul is such a lovely city and attracts so many tourists.

  52. Andi says:

    I’m going for a few days soon and I’m wondering if it’s easier to catch an uber to my hotel? Unfortunately it’s near Gebze and I’m arriving to ataturk airport. I’m a bit worried even the registered taxies will try to trick you, maybe I’m just paranoid from southern Asian experiences which have been awful mostly… my hotel offered a transfer but it’s extremely expensive.
    Can anyone suggest whether Uber is a good idea or not? Or any alternative solutions are welcome, I’d really appreciate it!! 🙂

    • Istanbul Enjoy says:

      If you arrive during daytime, you can check the fast catamaran ferries (İDO website) from Bakırköy ferry embarkment point.

      Heading for Pendik, Tuzla, Kartal. I am not sure which are operating. But check.

      Half the Ataturk to Gebze distance will be crossed from sea cheaply then.
      Or alternatively find out about a Ataturk to Sabiha Gokcen airport transfer. Then take a taxi from Sabiha Gokcen to Gebze. Which must be 20-30 kilometres at the most, if that from SG airport.

  53. Marc says:

    Distance is between 84 and 98 km. You could first take the Havatas bus to Taksim square and take a taxi from there. Or arrange an Uber taxi. You can also ask taxi driver the price to Gebze, and make a fixed price.I pay around 100 Turkish Lira for around 30 km. Good luck!

  54. Istanbul Enjoy says:

    The Taxis with details of the Taxi stations they are registered with on their door outside, are better. Because they are traceable and also belong to a neighbourhood where they have survived providing a service, and drive peoples kids, friends, girlfriends etc.

    However there are Taxi’s without a station, which are “free cruising” taxi’s. They are the ones to watch out for.

    Istanbul residents themselves try to avoid these.

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  56. Mohammadali Samet says:

    I am Muhammad Ali Samat. Today, December 19, 2017, at 8.30 am I got off the Taksim field with my friend , to the airport of Ataturk Airport. Unfortunately, I left the taxi for Iphone 7+.
    Thank you so much.

  57. Mohammadali Samet says:

    I am Muhammad Ali Samat. Today, December 19, 2017, at 8.30 am I got off the Taksim field with my friend , to the airport of Ataturk Airport. Unfortunately, I left the taxi for Iphone 7+.
    Thank you if you follow us

  58. Manis Diogs says:

    I just visited Istanbul. Very Greatfull and very kindfull people here.
    But something happened that made me very sad.
    I stay in Marmara taxim hotel.
    I was at Süleymaniye Mahallesi, Fuat Paşa Cd. No:63, Fatih/İstanbul (it is near beyazit kulesi)
    I took a taxi from there to take me to Taxim Square.
    After about 10 minutes we arrived at Taxim.
    The taxi driver never putted tarife to see the cost of the transport.
    When we arrived he told me that the price is 120TL !!
    I told him that these money are a lot for so short distance.
    But he talked to me rude and he took the 120TL.
    I noted his plate number.
    34 TAR 46
    This happened at 17:20 on Sunday 31 of December.

  59. faiz says:

    i was cheated once, the taxi meter showed 20tl. as swift as lightening the driver add another 10 tl and ended up paying 30 tl. the trick is as the same as the turkish ice-cream seller. beware of these crooks. where possible use public transport, cheap and reliable. most of taxi drivers in ist are crooks and scammers. i also hate turkish ice cream sellers in ist

  60. Hamed says:

    Not fair,just take care of them and use metro
    I’ve paid 160tl for a 20tl way as the hotel manager said.
    Just take care of that thieves.i hate Istanbul taxis so much and I say to everybody wants to go there

  61. I just visited Istanbul. Very Greatfull and very kindfull people here.
    But something happened that made me very sad.
    I stay in Marmara taxim hotel.

  62. James eid says:

    I really don’t know why the government in turkey has forbidden uber… yellow taxi are such dumb people I took a taxi for less than 10 mins he saw that I am tourist he wanted to take 70 lira !!!!! In the end he took 50 government have to really take that problem seriously

  63. Rut says:

    hi! I had a very bad experience on the way to Attaturk airport. Taxi driver almost raped me. Was very bad and impolite and played on that i have luggage in backside and i cant run away. He was really weird as he acted like hes my close friend aswell! Gave me his name and last name and phone number! Mehmet Yalub 05362004354. At least looks like ..his handwriting is really bad. I didnt have time to go to police. He cheated on my money aswell. I gave 10euros but said i havd only 10liras. And i didnt have anything much with md..i ended up giving all my money to get out. Please be aware! He looked like grey hair, old, horny forr most!!! I feel sick when i remember him

  64. Mayssa says:

    At was 6pm. My family and I were heading to a very close restaurant to Taksim Square where we were standing, but the weather didn’t let us make it there by walking. We stopped a cab and I showed him the restaurant on google maps, it says it was 9 mins away (3km) but he told us that he charges 150TL for such a ride so we let him go. Then, we went to another cab and showed him the same things and he told us okay and we got in. 9 mins later, on our way, as we were following the directions on Google maps, we noticed that the taxi driver was going on a longer route, he also passed in front of the restaurant and continued driving. We tried to explain to him that we were just next to the restaurant 2 mins ago but he doesn’t speak English so it was kind of hard although we showed him the map. He continued going through small towns as the Taxi Meter was going up, so my father told him to stop because it was strange but he didn’t , my father had to shout so the driver shouted back and locked the doors. My father unlocked them and oppened the door , he tried to give him 20TL although we were charged with 15TL and threatened him with calling the police, so the taxi driver continued driving and refused the money as he was trying to hit my father that was defending himself and then he stopped in the middle of the street and we went down. And then, he went down shouting and all the people on the street started looking, there was a turkish citizen that knows english so my father explained to him what happened as the driver was calling the police, the turkish guy told the driver to take the money and go but he refused as he was shouting. It all ended by us walking away and the driver shouting in the streets. Sadly, we didn’t take a picture of his plate number orsoever. I , honestly, got very scared . I advise you all to take care with taxis in Istanbul because they try to robe you in a “smart” way and when u find out they turn it into a fight.

  65. Yuki says:

    HUGE thank you for this post! I learned a lot about money schemes and taxi drivers. Hope that will help me in my trip ti Istanbul next week… Fingers crossed!
    Thank you once again!

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  67. Abhijeet says:

    I am an indian,I stayed in Istanbul five days and I took taxi only one time and that is from airport to my hotel, rest of the time I used ? tram ,bus and metro, public transport of Istanbul is superb and chepaer, try to user metro instead of other services, Uber is very good options and if you want perfect service without any cheating the. Go for GetTransfer taxi service from airport to hotel or hotel airport. Get bus routes or metro details

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  71. Thanks for sharing very helpful for me

  72. Tony says:

    Thank You all for sharing your experiences. Very informative and value able indeed for prospective tourists. First, after learning from these lovely stories, I am not breaking my trip in Istanbul on my way home to Texas. I’ll pick some other stopover.

    2nd, do you all recommend 3 ladies to stop over in Istanbul for 4 days on their own in line with these experiences explained above. Thanks for your feedback.

  73. Aatif says:

    I have dropped my phone in yellow cab. Driver name is Ali and his brother name is Yousuf. Can you help.
    I am staying in Titanic hotel Beyoğlu. Room nos is 517.
    My Name is Aatif.
    Help me find it.

  74. tangkas asia says:

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  75. Adam says:

    We used the app BiTaksi while we were there and had good experiences every time. It’s the same concept as Uber, but you connect to licensed taxis. You type in the destination, get a price estimate (which was within a lira or two), and can track the whole experience on an embedded real-time map. Highly recommended it.

    We did avoid going to and from the airport with a taxi, due to warnings on sites like this. We used the bus service, which was super cheap and convenient and got us basically where we needed to go (within a short walk).

  76. We used the app BiTaksi while we were there and had good experiences every time.

  77. thanks for sharing. i like it.

  78. Thanks for another great post. Where else may anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such information.

  79. You type in the destination, get a price estimate (which was within a lira or two), and can track the whole experience on an embedded real-time map. Highly recommended it.

  80. Tangkas Net says:

    I have a presentation next week, and I’m at the search for such information.

  81. S12888 says:

    Where else may anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing?

  82. We did avoid going to and from the airport with a taxi, due to warnings on sites like this.

  83. Driver name is Ali and his brother name is Yousuf. Can you help.

  84. A cab driver just stole 200L from my wallet. Found out afterwards. Feel pretty angry. Shit service in Istanbul. The city is ok, but would NEVER live in this shit hole

  85. Rolet Online says:

    The city is ok, but would NEVER live in this shit hole

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    Terrified by what is written about taxis in Istanbul, my husband and me, we have booked a private taxi service prior to our arrival. Everything was flawless. Cab on time, a very friendly English speaking driver. No scam about pricing. I highly recommend booking a taxi using . No need to bother with regular cabs.

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  92. H ali says:

    90% taxi drivers tends to cheat in one way or another, but major scam in istanbul, better to use public transport as much as possible, it is not only the matter of money but also the cheating. One of the driver cheated and asked for 75TL from taksim to sultanahmet, upon resistance I went out after paying him 25TL for just 2 KM and took F1 and tram instead.

    Even with bitaxi app, they tried to stop the app after 1 minute and than charge you seperately and you cannot do any thing in middle especially with family.

    Let’s be carefull

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