Uber is available in Turkey, but not everywhere in the country. So, you may sigh in relief. After all, what is Uber if not sheer convenience? You can book a ride in a matter of a few clicks. No matter where you are, it’s the same process.
And right now, you can rest assured that the conveniences of Uber can be enjoyed in certain areas of Turkey including Istanbul.
Where In Turkey Is Uber Readily Available?
Uber is readily available in Istanbul, Bodrum, Marmaris and Cesme. However, in most areas outside of Istanbul, you might find it hard to hail a cab due to the unavailability of cars even though the app functions.
You’ll also be also pleased to know that Uber is readily available for airport transfers. If taking a shuttle or a local taxi is not an option – Uber is there.
The Istanbul International Airport (IST) and the Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen International Airport are the two main international airports in Turkey, and you can easily arrange transfers with Uber from there to the city and vice versa.
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Why Was Uber Not In Turkey For A While?
While Uber is available in Turkey right now, it wasn’t always the case. What does it mean? Well after the globally-loved taxi app was introduced in Turkey, it began making an unexpected impact on the local taxi operations of the country.
Naturally, this led to the local taxi service communities (Turkey’s United Taxi Drivers Association) teaming up to ban Uber from Turkey. It was successful for a while.
But back in 2021, the Istanbul court overturned the ban. Uber was permitted to relaunch. While many local taxi drivers are very much against the relaunch, officials see this as an opportunity for local taxi services to experience some healthy competition and level up.
This is good news for us travellers (seriously).
This app is readily available in both Google Play and Apple stores, and it is probably the most used local cab-hailing app in Turkey. This app works best in Istanbul and Ankara, and it offers the same payment and ride-booking features as Uber – so if you can’t get an Uber, then with BiTaksi you’re sorted.
It’s very similar to BiTaksi – but this was designed by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. It is not as famous as BiTaksi, but it has an extra payment option. Yes, you can pay with cash and a card or also use the Istanbul Kart system.
iTaksi is available on Google Play and the Apple stores.
Unlike the previous two, it’s important to remember that this app only operates with cars and limos. A little fancy, but if you’re out of options, or if you really want a limo… why not?
This too is available in Google Play as well as Apple stores.
Other Modes Of Transport In Turkey
Public Buses are the cheapest way to travel. But what’s annoying is that, unlike trains and trams, they do get caught in road traffic. Bus tickets must be pre-purchased or you need a travel card. But it can get tricky if you’re not familiar with roads.
Also, most buses don’t have AC, so on hot summer days – the heat may be a bit unbearable.
If you choose to follow your adventures on a train track, then the train it is! This mode of travel is quite popular amongst travellers who are travelling on a budget. It can be a rewarding experience, especially if you plan early and have your routes and train schedules in place.
Turkey has domestic train options and international trains (if you’re planning on crossing borders). You can take a high-speed train or even take a night train.
The trams are ideal for those who would love to take their time and enjoy the city. The trails between Sultanhamat, Galata and Eminonu are quite popular and highly recommended.
Especially the heritage tram that functions through Istiklal Avenue – worth checking out.
(Tramways are also wheelchair friendly).
Hire a Car/Van
It’s a more expensive (ka-Ching!) way to travel, compared to the earlier choices. But it allows more privacy. This way you can take your sweet time, explore different routes and stop to enjoy all the beauty of the landscapes of Turkey offers without worrying too much.
Then there is the yellow and black cab fleet that can be used for all your journeys, more suited for short-distance travel. So, if you’re exploring the city of Istanbul, then a taxi will definitely do. It certainly will be more affordable compared to hiring a private car.
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Uber Vs Taxis In Turkey
Based on Uber’s history in Turkey and its temporary exile – it’s evident that Uber has a strong rival – taxis! The globally loved ride-sharing app is a reassuring convenience for many travellers. A familiar mode of transport in an unfamiliar land.
That said – the whole point of travelling to a new destination is to explore it truly. The destinations, the journey, the local scene – it’s the whole package experience. And there is a high chance that taxi drivers share their knowledge of the best places to see in the city.
With Uber, you know the process. It is the same in Turkey – it’s the same everywhere else. You can choose to pay with cash or a card. However, the rates can differ depending on the peak times and Uber is not readily available outside highly populated city areas.
Local taxis are highly preferred amongst locals in Turkey. The absence of Uber could also have an impact here, but we cannot confirm that. But there is a Taxi governing body in Turkey, so taxi services are regulated.
There is the risk of drivers trying to swindle you after discovering you are a visitor. There is a risk of being charged an unfair amount. The risk is there – but that risk is inevitable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lyft available in Turkey?
No, Lyft is not available in Turkey.
Is it Cheaper to use Uber or a Local taxi?
Uber may be a little more expensive than local taxis in Turkey.
Is Uber safer than Local taxis?
Uber and taxis in Turkey are generally safe. But it is important to take the right kind of precaution no matter if it’s an Uber or a local taxi.
What are the Most Popular Train Routes in Turkey?
İzmir – Airport – Selçuk – Aydın – Denizli (Pamukkale)
Istanbul – Eskişehir – Denizli
Ankara – İzmir (overnight ride)
Can you use Cards to pay for Taxis in Turkey?
Card payment options are only available for taxi services available through apps. This includes Uber, BiTaksi and even iTaksi. If you are hailing one from the road, the card option might not be available.
While many taxis do have the card option availability displayed through a sticker on the door, we’d advise you to keep some local currency. Just in case.