Istanbul taxi driver who ‘cheated’ Saudi tourist over fare faces 10-year jail term

Istanbul taxi driver who ‘cheated’ Saudi tourist over fare faces 10-year jail term
The driver of an Istanbul taxi who is facing charges of "aggravated fraud" is accused of cheating a Saudi tourist by making a journey to the airport longer. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 February 2018

Istanbul taxi driver who ‘cheated’ Saudi tourist over fare faces 10-year jail term

Istanbul taxi driver who ‘cheated’ Saudi tourist over fare faces 10-year jail term

ANKARA: A taxi driver faces up to 10 years in prison on a charge of “aggravated fraud” after cheating a Saudi tourist in Istanbul by making the journey longer.
The driver took the tourist from a central location in Kadikoy district on the Asian side of the city to the European side through the recently built third bridge, which is very far away from city center, then back to the Asian side to the Sabiha Gokcen airport by a longer route, Hurriyet newspaper reported.
According to the prosecutor’s indictment, the extended trip resulted not only in extra charges for the tourist, but also caused him to miss his flight back to Saudi Arabia.
A legal case was opened against the driver at the demand of the tourist. The driver, who denies the charge, said that he had been confused about the route.
The rising number of taxi scams in Istanbul includes charging extra fees, hiding real fares by closing the obligatory taxi fare calculators beforehand and taking deliberately longer routes, especially in districts with popular tourist attractions.
Selin Nasi, an Istanbul resident, was cheated recently by a taxi driver after being double-charged for her journey. “Even Turks are not immune from such fraud. I hope this case will set a precedent and similar incidents will be prevented in the future,” she told Arab News.
Last year Turkish authorities increased measures to prevent overcharging by taxis, and police officers and tourism authority officials, disguised as tourists, began conducting inspections throughout the city.
But cases still continue and complaints are escalating, especially during the peak tourism season.
Although the difference between day and night taxi rates was recently removed, some drivers still charge tourists extra for night rides.
In November, a British tourist visiting Istanbul was defrauded after being given a 3,000 Turkish lira (about $790) receipt for a car transfer from the airport, although the distance should cost about 350 lira. A criminal complaint was subsequently filed to the Prime Ministry Coordination Center (BİMER) against the tourism agency who arranged the transfer.