Istanbul, a city steeped in history and culture, is a must-visit destination for any globetrotter. As you navigate its bustling streets, you may find yourself relying on taxis to get from one mesmerizing sight to another. While most Turkish taxi drivers are honest and helpful, it’s essential to be aware of potential scams to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will unravel common taxi scams in Istanbul and will tell you how to avoid taxi scams and don’t lose your money while you are in Istanbul.

The Dark Side of Taxis in Istanbul: Popular Scams

Making the Taxi Ride Longer

Some taxi drivers may take unnecessarily long routes to inflate the fare. To avoid this, use a GPS-enabled device to track your journey and ensure you’re on the most direct route.

The Turkish Lira Note Switch

Unscrupulous drivers may try to swap the money you give them for a lower denomination note and claim you gave them less. To prevent this, state the amount you’re handing over while maintaining eye contact.

No Change Problem

Be prepared for drivers who claim not to have the change. Carry smaller notes and coins to avoid overpaying.

A Fixed Price Instead of Using The Meter

Some drivers may insist on a fixed price rather than using the meter. Insist on using the meter to ensure you pay a fair price.

Taxi without Meter

Avoid taxis without a working meter. These drivers may charge exorbitant rates for short rides.

Taxi Driver with False/Printed Money

Be cautious of drivers who insist on checking the quality of your banknotes and swapping them for fake ones. Always double-check the money you receive as change.

Paying a Large Fare for Tolls

Question any unusually high toll fees, as some drivers may try to overcharge you for crossing bridges.

Fiddling with the Meter

Keep an eye on the meter throughout your trip. Some drivers may tamper with it to charge a higher fare.

Taking Your Luggage at the Airport

Do not let anyone take your luggage at the airport until you’re sure of their intentions. This can prevent you from being coerced into an overpriced taxi ride.

The Meter Is Not Zeroed

Before starting your journey, check that the meter is zeroed. If it’s not, ask the driver to reset it.

Fare Is Per Person

Some drivers may try to charge per person rather than per ride. It is against the law.

Know the Fair Fare

Before getting into a taxi, it’s important to know the fair fare for your journey. This will help you to avoid dishonest drivers who may try to overcharge you.

Keep in mind that fares may vary depending on the time of day, traffic conditions, and other factors. If you feel that the fare is too high, don’t hesitate to negotiate or find another taxi. Always insist on using a metered taxi to ensure that you pay a fair price, and keep an eye on the meter during your journey to avoid any surprises.

Book a Transfer from the Airport

If you’re looking for a reliable and stress-free way to get from the airport to your hotel in Istanbul, we recommend booking a transfer with Welcome Pickups. Their experienced drivers will meet you at the airport and take you to your destination in comfort and style. Plus, you’ll have the added convenience of being able to pre-book and pay online.

For more information on getting around Istanbul and saving money on airport transfers, check out these articles:

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Personalized Tours with Private Transportation and Car Hire Services in Istanbul

We recommend choosing tours with private transportation or car hire services in Istanbul as a more comfortable and personalized alternative to taxis. These options allow you to explore the city at your own pace while enjoying the added convenience and safety that tailored transportation provides.

Or just use public transportation whenever possible to save money and avoid scams!

How to Behave When You See Taxi Scam in Istanbul

1. Trust Your Instincts

If you have suspicions and you haven’t entered the taxi yet, trust your instincts and don’t take it.

2. Stand Your Ground

If you feel uncomfortable during the ride (for example, the driver takes different route, asks you to pay in the middle of the ride or changes the fare), don’t agree and be prepared for the driver to get upset. Don’t be scared, don’t agree with them, don’t give them money, and call the police by dialing 155.

3. Don’t Be Fooled by Stories and Fees

Use our article or app to determine the correct fare, but don’t be deceived by stories or fees they might present.

4. Stay Alert with Taxi Apps

Even when using apps like Uber or Bitaksi, stay alert, as scams can still happen.

How to Avoid Istanbul Taxi Scams

Follow these practical tips to safeguard your Istanbul taxi experience:

  1. Have your hotel call a taxi from a local taxi stand to ensure accountability.
  2. Note the taxi’s license number before entering the vehicle.
  3. Know the fare you should pay for the ride before.
  4. Monitor the meter during your ride and double-check the money you hand to the driver.
  5. Do not let anyone take your luggage until you are certain of their intentions.
  6. Walk or take public transportation away from tourist-heavy areas like Sultanahmet before hailing a taxi.
  7. Use public transportation whenever possible to save money and avoid scams.


Q: How can I ensure I pay the correct taxi fare in Istanbul?

A: Insist on using a metered taxi and keep an eye on the meter during your journey.

Q: What should I do if I encounter a taxi scam in Istanbul?

A: Note the taxi’s license plate number, date, time, and location of the incident, and file a complaint with the Istanbul Public Transport Services Directorate or contact the police.


Navigating the bustling streets of Istanbul should be a delightful and hassle-free experience. By arming yourself with the knowledge of potential taxi scams in Istanbul and following the practical tips shared in this guide, you’ll be better equipped to avoid any unpleasant encounters with dishonest taxi drivers. Enjoy your time in this captivating city and create unforgettable memories while exploring its historical and cultural treasures.

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