Authorities have imposed a new string of rules for taxi drivers who recently have been at the center of increasing complaints due to picking tourists over local customers and not accepting short-distance rides.
“Drivers of commercial taxis who insist on not picking up passengers will be subject to legal sanctions, including a traffic ban for taxis,” according to a circular issued by the Interior Ministry to the Governor’s Offices of all 81 provinces.
The circular pointed out that there has been an increase in complaints recently that some taxi drivers, especially in metropolitan cities, do not take passengers for short distances or during rush hour.
It also stressed that this situation might increase heated arguments between taxi drivers and passengers, incidents that affect the public order and may cause grievances between citizens and tourists.
According to the circular, if it is determined that a passenger is not being accepted in the taxis for reasons, such as short distances or traffic density, then security forces will embark the passengers in the vehicles themselves.
In coordination with the relevant taxi chamber and the municipality, necessary legal action, including a traffic ban, will be taken against taxi drivers who insist on not picking up passengers.
Police officers have already been running inspections to bust taxi drivers who fail to obey the rules, mostly in Istanbul. According to the circular, inspections by plainclothes personnel will continue in taxis.
Istanbul residents recently complained that the number of taxis in the city was inadequate, taxis were uncomfortable and that drivers were rude, but the main grumble related with drivers was not accepting short-distance rides or picking tourists over locals.
There are 17,395 licensed taxis operating, and new taxi plates have not been on sale since the 1960s with the exception of provisionary decisions in Istanbul, meaning the number of taxis on Istanbul’s roads had not changed in over half a century.
According to the Istanbul Municipality, the only way to solve the taxi problem in the metropolis with more than 16 million population is to boost the number of taxis, but this proposal is being opposed by taxi associations.
The proposal of the local authority to roll out new taxi licenses has been rejected several times by the decision of the Transportation Coordination Center (UKOME), where representatives from various ministries and public institutions are in the majority.
The municipality’s proposal to increase the number of taxis in the city will be presented to the UKOME meeting for the ninth time today.
Hurriyet Daily News