Istanbul, Turkey: The latest on rideshares and getting around

    Feb 25, 2020 @ 06:15 AM / by Samuel Pearl Schwartz

    IstanbulSunrise from the Besiktas neighborhood of Istanbul, Turkey. Photo taken by AIRINC surveyor Samuel Pearl Schwartz.

    Rideshare uncertainty in Istanbul and Ankara

    Western rideshare apps have struggled in Turkey. Protests by taxi drivers and government opposition have left these ridesharing companies in a state of uncertainty over the last year. On my recent trip to Ankara and Istanbul, I experienced this firsthand.

    In Ankara, I tried to use a popular local rideshare app but gave up because it was only available in Turkish despite claims that they support English-speaking users. Apart from the local rideshare app, there was no other rideshare presence in Ankara, and I was entirely reliant on local taxis.

    Western rideshare apps function in Istanbul, but only to call a metered taxi. I was then given the option for a Taxi Yellow or a Taxi Turquoise. The app worked well, and I was still able to pay with my credit card, but the price was determined based on the meter in the taxi itself rather than the app’s algorithm. I preferred using the rideshare app to call a taxi rather than hailing one on the street for the added accountability and to minimize language barriers. Rideshare apps in many other cities provide cheaper fares and other advantages like a map and a driver rating system, but this was not the case in Istanbul.

    When AIRINC visited Istanbul six months ago, western rideshare apps were functioning normally rather than as a taxi-hailing app, so the situation is in flux and may continue to change over time. In another six months, the apps could be functioning normally again, or they could be gone entirely.


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    Topics: On-site Insight, Transportation, Insights and Experience, Istanbul, Turkey, Transportation Data, expatriate transportation, Site Summaries, Transportation Reports, Ankara, Rideshare

    Samuel Pearl Schwartz

    Written by Samuel Pearl Schwartz

    Sam joined AIRINC in 2018 as a surveyor and analyst. He has conducted cost of living and housing surveys in more than 40 cities across 30+ countries. He also assists in the production of AIRINC publications. Sam received his B.A. in history from Tufts University. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish and intermediate Portuguese. Sam is based in Cambridge, MA.