How to Navigate Istanbul’s Taxis: Your Complete Handbook for a Smooth Ride

The taxi system in Istanbul is super important for getting around the city. They’ve got a huge fleet of taxis and a solid infrastructure, so you can always count on them for a convenient and reliable ride, whether you’re a local or a tourist.

You’ll find Istanbul taxis all over the place, with stands at key spots like airports, train stations, and popular attractions. And if you’re in a hurry, no worries! You can easily flag one down on the street or even book through a mobile app.

Read further to explore the ins and outs of the taxi system in Istanbul and level up your skills at maneuvering through the city’s cab rides like a pro. Uncover priceless tips and tricks to elevate your mastery of this vital mode of transportation.

Breakdown of Istanbul Taxi Prices

Figuring out taxi prices in Istanbul is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of the pricing structure. So, here’s the deal: the prices for taxis in Istanbul:

  • Fixed starting price: 19.17 TL
  • Price per kilometer: 13.75 TL
  • On-Off price for short rides: 70 TL

Here’s some more info on the pricing structure, how rates are calculated, and the prices for different taxi categories in detail. Check it out!

How are taxi fares calculated?

In Istanbul, taxi fares are determined by considering both the distance traveled and the time spent in the taxi. The municipality regulates the fares to ensure fairness and transparency for both the drivers and passengers, thus maintaining a balanced system.It is important to note that additional charges may apply for tolls and luggage service.

The starting price of a taxi ride

When taking a taxi in Istanbul, a fixed starting price of 19.17 TL applies for yellow taxis. This fare is charged from the moment you step into the taxi, irrespective of the distance you’re traveling. In 2023, this rate remains unchanged.

The price per kilometer

In addition to the initial fare, the total cost includes factoring in the distance traveled. We calculate this based on a fixed price per kilometer. As of 2023, yellow taxis charge 13.75 TL per kilometer. The taxi meter will keep track of the distance covered and add 13.75 TL for each kilometer on top of the initial fee of 19.17 TL.

The base fare for short taxi rides

In Istanbul, there is a pricing system known as the “bindi indi” rate, which translates to “on and off” rate. Even when you take a short ride in a yellow taxi, regardless of the actual distance you travel, the base rate remains fixed at 70 TL. This means that even if you only cover 1-2 kilometers and the rate calculation suggests a lower charge, you still must pay the fixed rate of 70 TL.

Bridge and motorway fees

Taxi prices in Istanbul are relatively affordable, however, travelers should be aware that there may be additional costs to consider. Many of the roads in Istanbul require motorists to pay a toll when crossing motorways, tunnels or bridges. These tolls can quickly add up and so travelers should be sure to factor this into their overall budget for transportation costs while visiting the city. Taxi drivers pass on the toll prices to their customers, so you end up paying both the taxi meter fare and additional tolls. Inner city travels, like from Sultanahmet to Taksim, do not incur any tolls. However, if you use the highway, bridges, or the Avrasya tunnel that connects the Asian and European sides, you will encounter tolls for these roads. When crossing the continent, any bridge you choose will require a toll payment.

Taxi Fare Overview

Istanbul Taxi priceYellow TaxiBlue TaxiBlack Taxi
Taxi starting price19,17 TL22,04 TL32,58 TL
Price per kilometer13,75 TL15,81 TL23,38 TL
On-Off Price (short route)70,00 TL80,00 TL130,00 TL

Popular Routes and Prices – Average Price for Tourists

Check out this handy list of estimated taxi prices for popular tourist routes. Whether you’re off to iconic landmarks, bustling shopping districts, or cultural hotspots, these estimated prices will help you plan your transportation budget. Please note that the list includes only estimated prices and does not consider factors such as road closures, extended traffic duration, and toll charges. The pricing is based on the fare of yellow taxis.

Istanbul Airport Taxi Prices
  • Istanbul Airport to Taksim: 596,67 TL
  • Istanbul Airport to Sultanahmet: 720,42 TL
  • Istanbul Airport to Besiktas: 610,42 TL
  • Istanbul Airport to Nisantasi: 720,42 TL
  • Istanbul Airport to Galata: 582,92 TL
  • Istanbul Airport to Ortaköy: 637,92 TL
  • Istanbul Airport to Kadiköy: 830,42 TL *
  • Istanbul Airport to Üsküdar: 706,67 TL *
Sabiha Gökcen Airport Taxi Prices
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Taksim: 610,42 TL *
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Sultanahmet: 665,42 TL *
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Besiktas: 582,92 TL *
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Nisantasi: 624,17 TL *
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Galata: 665,42 TL *
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Ortaköy: 596,67 TL *
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Kadiköy: 472,92 TL
  • Sabiha Gökcen Airport to Üsküdar: 541,67 TL
Sultanahmet Taxi Prices
  • Sultanahmet to Istanbul Airport: 582,92 TL
  • Sultanahmet to Sabiha Gökcen Airport: 692,92 TL *
  • Sultanahmet to Taksim: 87,92 TL
  • Sultanahmet to Besiktas: 101,67 TL
  • Sultanahmet to Nisantasi: 115,42 TL
  • Sultanahmet to Galata: 74,17 TL
  • Sultanahmet to Ortaköy: 184,17 TL
  • Sultanahmet to Kadiköy: 294,17 TL *
  • Sultanahmet to Üsküdar: 294,17 TL *
Taksim Taxi Prices
  • Taksim to Istanbul Airport: 555,42 TL
  • Taksim to Sabiha Gökcen Airport: 596,67 TL *
  • Taksim to Sultanahmet: 87,92 TL
  • Taksim to Besiktas: 70,00 TL (on-off rate)
  • Taksim to Nisantasi: 70,00 TL (on-off rate)
  • Taksim to Galata: 74,17 TL
  • Taksim to Ortaköy: 101,67 TL
  • Taksim to Kadiköy: 252,92 TL *
  • Taksim to Üsküdar: 184,17 TL *

Also read: How to go from Istanbul Airport to Taksim

* toll, bridge and tunnel fees apply

What are the different types of taxis in Istanbul – Yellow, Turquoise and Black taxis

  1. Yellow Taxis: These iconic taxis are the most common in Istanbul. They are easily recognizable with their yellow color and can be found throughout the city. Yellow taxis are metered and provide a convenient way to get around. They are not only the most common but also the most cost-effective taxi option in the city. For typical tourist needs, yellow taxis are more than sufficient.
  2. Turquoise Taxis: Blue taxis are a more recent addition to Istanbul’s taxi fleet. They are known for their modern look and are often equipped with features like Wi-Fi and credit card payment options. Turquoise taxis provide passengers with a comfortable and offer a higher level of luxury and spaciousness compared to the classic yellow taxis. Notably, the fare per kilometer for turquoise taxis is 25-30% higher than that of yellow taxis.
  3. Black Taxis: Black taxis are a premium option in Istanbul. They are usually luxury VIP vehicles like Mercedes Vitos and provide a higher level of comfort and service. Black taxis are typically more expensive than yellow or blue taxis, but they offer a luxurious and stylish transportation experienceIt’s totally up to you to decide if you’re into a fancier option. This can be super helpful especially if you’re rolling with a big crew. Also, just a heads up, the turquoise and yellow taxis are a bit smaller compared to the black ones.

Whether you choose a yellow, turquoise, or black taxi, each type has its own unique features and advantages. Consider your preferences and budget to find the perfect taxi option for your journey in Istanbul.

How to order a taxi in Istanbul?

  1. Hail a Taxi from the Street: One common way to get a taxi in Istanbul is to simply hail one from the street. Taxis are widely available throughout the city, especially in busy areas and near popular landmarks. Just raise your hand when you see an available taxi, and if it’s vacant, the driver will stop to pick you up.
  2. Call a Taxi Station: If you prefer a more organized approach, you can call a taxi station to request a cab to your location. You can find taxi station numbers online or ask locals for the nearest one. Calling in advance allows you to specify your location and get an estimated time of arrival for the taxi.
  3. Go to a Taxi Station: Istanbul has designated taxi stations where you can find taxis waiting for passengers. These stations are typically located in busy areas, transportation hubs, and popular neighborhoods. You can simply go to one of these stations and wait for the next available taxi.
  4. Use a Taxi App: In the age of technology, using a taxi app is becoming increasingly popular. Several taxi-hailing apps operate in Istanbul, allowing you to book a taxi with just a few taps on your smartphone. Apps like BiTaksi and iTaksi are commonly used in the city. Simply download the app, set your location, and request a taxi to come to your pick-up point.

The best Taxi Apps in Istanbul

A taxi app is the epitome of convenience and reliability, especially when you’re unfamiliar with the city. With just a few taps, you can effortlessly input your desired destination and obtain valuable information in advance, such as the estimated duration, distance, and, most importantly, the estimated price. Furthermore, the app provides a real-time map display throughout your entire journey, ensuring that you can closely monitor the route taken by the driver and verify that you’re not being unnecessarily taken on a longer path.


Bitaksi is Turkey’s most popular ride-hailing app, offering a convenient and reliable transportation solution. With registered drivers and an English language version available, Bitaksi ensures a smooth and seamless experience. One of the key advantages is that the price is communicated in advance, giving you transparency and control over your expenses. Moreover, there is no need for driver communication as you will receive the driver’s details, including their name, when the car is en route to you. Simplifying the process further, you only need to provide your pick-up point, without the hassle of pinning your destination on the map. Payment options include cash or credit card, and you also have the opportunity to provide feedback on the driver and your journey.


iTaxi is a convenient transportation option in Istanbul that offers a similar experience to BiTaksi. Operated by the municipality, it ensures a certain level of passenger safety. With the added advantage of a sea taxi option, it connects various routes along the breathtaking Bosphorus. Payment methods are flexible, allowing passengers to pay by cash, credit card, or Istanbulkart. The app provides a fare calculator, allowing users to estimate their fares in advance. Additionally, passengers can easily track their journey on the in-app map.


Uber’s presence in Turkey is currently limited due to conflicts between Uber drivers and traditional taxi drivers. As a result, when you order through Uber, you may be assigned a regular yellow taxi instead of an Uber. The future of Uber in Turkey remains uncertain, as the situation continues to evolve.

Do you tip taxi drivers in Istanbul?

You don’t typically tip taxi drivers in Istanbul, but it’s a nice gesture to round up the fare to the nearest convenient amount as a show of gratitude. And if the driver helps with your luggage, you can give a small extra amount on top of the taxi fare. Discover further insights into the customs of tipping in Istanbul.

How to avoid taxi scams in Istanbul

Just like any other popular tourist destination, there are certain scams and tricks that visitors might encounter in Istanbul due to their unfamiliarity with the city and language. One of the main challenges is the prevalence of taxi scams. While not all taxi drivers engage in such unethical practices, it’s still important to be prepared for the worst. In case of any issues, it’s advisable to note down the license plate and file a complaint against the driver. You can easily reach out to the helpline at 153, which operates 24/7 and also provides English support.

We’ve put together a super helpful list of the most common taxi scams in Istanbul. Take a look and you’ll be all set to spot and avoid these sneaky tricks!

The ‘longer taxi ride’ scam

This is a common trick used by taxi drivers all over the world, and Istanbul is no different. As a tourist, you might not know the shortest route to your destination, which makes it easier for the taxi driver to take a longer route and charge you more. Even if you know the way, the driver might say there’s heavy traffic or pretend to be lost. If you’re unfamiliar with the roads and don’t speak Turkish, it’s tough to communicate the route you want. To help you avoid such situations, we’ve given an overview of Istanbul taxi fares to popular tourist spots. This will give you an idea of when to question the fare and negotiate with the driver. Also, using a navigation app on your smartphone can ensure you’re going in the right direction.

The ‘bank note switch’ scam

Watch out for a common scam used by some taxi drivers. Let’s say your fare is 105 TL and you give the driver a 50 TL and 100 TL note. The driver slyly substitutes the 50 TL note with a prepared 5 TL note, discreetly showing it to you. In that moment, the driver deceives you into giving him the ‘remaining’ 45 TL note. If you’re unfamiliar with the currency, you might get confused and end up paying 150 TL for a 105 TL ride. To avoid such situations, ensure you have enough small banknotes and coins to pay the exact fare when taking a taxi. If you need change for a larger note, double-check its value before handing it to the driver. Another effective approach is to show the note and wait for the driver to prepare the change.

The ‘no change in the car’ scam

So let’s say you’re at the fair and it costs 150 TL. You hand the driver two 100 TL bills, and he takes a quick look around his cab. After a minute, he hands you only 20 TL in change, claiming he’s run out of banknotes. He’s basically trying to squeeze an extra 30 TL out of you. Now you’ve got two choices: you can let it slide if it’s just a few Turkish Liras, or you can stay put and ask him to swing by a shop to break the note. You’ll be amazed at how fast they suddenly manage to find the exact change.

The ‘fixed price’ scam

Some drivers may try to offer a fixed price instead of using the meter, claiming it’s more beneficial due to traffic or a shorter route. However, it’s always recommended to insist on using the meter. If the driver refuses or doesn’t have one, it’s best to decline the ride and find another taxi. The same applies if the driver claims the meter is broken halfway through the ride. In such cases, ask the driver to stop near a police car and exit the vehicle. It’s important to prioritize your safety and not fall victim to scams.

The ‘broken meter’ scam

Sometimes, taxi drivers might refuse to use the meter or claim it’s broken midway through your trip. Don’t fall for it. Always insist on using the meter at the start of your journey. If the driver refuses, exit the taxi and look for another one. The meter is a safeguard against overcharging and makes certain that you only pay the standard rate.

The ‘nighttime’ scam

Some taxi drivers might try to charge you the higher nighttime rate (gece) during the day. Gone are the days when there was a fare difference between night and day. Ensure that the meter is always set to daytime (gündüz) regardless of the time. This should appear on the meter display at regular intervals. For newer, mirror-integrated meters, the daytime code is ‘1’.

Frequently asked questions about taxis in Istanbul

Are taxis cheap in Istanbul?

Taxis in Istanbul have varying costs, which depend on several factors. While they are cheaper than in many Western cities, they may not be considered cheap compared to local transportation options like trams, buses, and ferries. Always insist on using the meter to avoid overcharges.

Can you pay taxis in Istanbul with a credit card?

Yes, you can pay for taxis in Istanbul with a credit card. However, not all taxis may have card machines, so it’s advisable to check with the driver beforehand. It’s also a good idea to have some cash on hand as a backup. If you book your ride through a taxi app, you can conveniently pay by credit card within the app.

Are taxis in Istanbul safe?

Taxis in Istanbul are safe as drivers comply with local regulations. Stay vigilant, choose licensed taxis, avoid unmarked vehicles, and keep your belongings close. Consider using a recognized taxi app for added security, providing driver details and route tracking.

How much costs a taxi in Istanbul?

Taxi prices in Istanbul vary. The starting price is 19.17 TL and it’s 13.75 TL per kilometer. For short routes, the minimum charge is 70 TL. Toll fees for highways and bridges are not included. Ask your driver about additional charges to avoid surprises.

Are taxis expensive in Istanbul?

Compared to public transportation, taxis in Istanbul can be pricier. While they are convenient and flexible, the cost per kilometer and toll charges can add up, especially for longer distances. On the other hand, public transportation in Istanbul, accessed with an Istanbulkart, is a budget-friendly option. The rechargeable smart card offers significantly lower prices, making it a great choice for tourists looking to save money while getting around the city.

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