Istanbul Taxi & Transfer Report

Here’s a trip report I received from a TTP traveler who took Istanbul taxis and Efendi Travel‘s Airport Transfer Service, and the difference between them:

“Hi Tom,
Thanks for the tip re: Efendi Travel and their airport transportation. They were wonderful and they were at the airport waiting for us. {We made a trip last year for a cruise and booked ahead with another service and they never showed up, leaving us at the mercy of the taxis.}

“And we also had another pleasant experience with Istanbul taxis…from our hotel, the Ceylan Intercontinental. The concierge suggested we take a taxi to the Blue Mosqueand have the driver wait and then take us to Dolmabache. A great idea and a great driver. He even came into the Mosque with us and took some pictures.

“Unfortunately, our other experiences were not as good. Wish I had thought enough to get taxi #’s but I did not…leaving our ship, the NCL Jade, we wanted a taxi to the Grand Bazaar. All ‘the bargainers…taxi drivers’ right near the ship, wanted to play ‘Let’s Make a Deal’…I am so tired of that so we caught a cab right outside the port entrance.

“I was careful to ask…was there a meter?/ would it be about 10 Turkish lira to the Bazaar? yes, yes….
But when we got there…and let me say my husband is not speedy exiting a small taxi or I would have jumped out and thrown him the money…but now the driver is arguing 10 Euro and so in fear of retaliation of some kind, I paid the 10 Euro even though our understanding was LIRA.

“And upon leaving the Bazaar, an older gentleman’s taxi must have been using the ‘old’ meter because as he sped away with us, I knew we were in trouble again. The ride cost 45 Turkish lira…his meter must have been set to the old lira and yes, we did it again.
Nothing so frustrating as being ‘taken for a ride’.

“All I wanted to do after that was set sail and be done with Istanbul! A shame, because we were happy to return for our 2nd, my husband’s 3rd, trip to Istanbul. But I must say now, I don’t anticipate a return.

“But, Thank you so much for the “Efendi Travel” tip…they were great!!!!”

[Note from Tom: luxury hotels control the taxis and drivers that approach their doors, and regulate them to deliver positive experiences. They know that a bad experience in a taxi taken from their door will result in an overall bad impression of their hotel…and their city. This is why I recommend that whenever possible, if you need a taxi, you have your hotel call one, or walk to a reputable hotel and take a taxi waiting there.]

—by Tom Brosnahan


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