It is impossible to miss the huge yellow fleet of taxis in Istanbul. There are at least 50,000 taxi drivers who bring tourists and citizens of Istanbul where-ever they want to be taken.
Much has been improved for customers since all cabs were obliged by law to have meters. But there is still a lot to be done in the quality and safety standards of the drivers. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s ‘space taxi’ project aims to reduce the complaints of the customers and the drivers.
In 2011 all taxi drivers will be required to have an electronic taxi card to start their cars’ engines. From now on cab drivers who are sitting in a coffee house and play cards will no longer be able to give their keys to a friend or a cousin and ask him to work for him. Thanks to a finger-print reading system the control centre of the municipality will be able to detect who is driving which taxi.
And like in New York the cabs will have protective plastic glass barriers, separating drivers from passengers, to enhance the personal safety of the drivers. Since November 1, 2010, taxi drivers are also required to have a health insurance.
Passengers will be able from now on to access a variety of information from a television screen in the rear of the new taxis. People who take a cab will be seen at the control centre by pushing a button on the television screen. And the control centre promises to direct cab drivers to areas were many people are waiting. That’s a welcome improvement. Itwill be appreciated by people who need a cab, certainly during rainy days.