Is Uber Available in Turkey?

Author : isturkeysafe


Last Update : 6/6/2020

Is Uber available in Turkey? Yes, Uber is available in Turkey, unfortunately a little limited(Please read to the end for most current information). Only vehicles having a valid passenger transport license and taxis (not all, only the ones prefer to work with Uber) can work for Uber in Turkey. So when you call a vehicle from Uber, you will see a VIP Mercedes Vito or Volkswagen Caravelle-style car (UberXL) or a yellow taxi. But it is not as common as in the world in Turkey; Uber is only available in Istanbul, Marmaris, Bodrum and Cesme currently.
Why Uber is not widespread in Turkey? There is a very big (billion dollar) taxi market in Turkey, so Uber is facing various legal challenges; thats why only specific vehicles (UberXL and taxis) are used. From time to time, penalties can be written against Uber drivers; also there is a conflict between taxi drivers and Uber drivers. At July 2018, Erdogan gave a speech and said Uber's business is finished (click to read the Reuters article about Erdogan's speech on Uber), but the operations still continue at October 2018.
How does the quality of the Uber service in Turkey? What makes it 'Uber' is the competition between Uber drivers. If you want to attract passengers, you must be a kind, fast and strict driver. But in Turkey, since only vehicles having a valid passenger transport license can work for Uber, there is not so much competition between drivers as in other countries since the number of vehicles matching this rule is limited. This may also affects quality; when compared with the standard taxi service Uber is in excellent quality in Turkey. However when Uber service quality compared between countries, Turkey Uber quality can be found at average. Also since only UberXL and yellow taxis exist, during the peak hours the prices may come close to taxi prices, sometimes even exceed those. However, at the end of the day, the Uber rules are valid, especially in the safety field there is nothing to worry about. You are unlikely to be swindled thanks to this digital transport assistant.
As mentioned above, the number of vehicles working for Uber is very limited in Turkey. This makes it difficult for you to find Uber available; while the demand is too high due to the quality of Uber, supply is not enough due to legal restrictions. So sometimes you may have to rush to not miss Uber car when you find an appropriate one.
If you prefer private transfer service like Uber, you should take airport transfer service in Istanbul since UberXL is ended its operations. For this purpose, there are 2 international service providers that you can get service safely:
Related to taxis in Istanbul, check the link for 'Are taxis safe in Turkey?'.
5 November 2018 Update
Unfortunately, near the end of 2018, penalties against Uber vehicles in Istanbul have increased. Therefore, when you call a Uber vehicle in Istanbul, the driver can ask you where to go and sometimes cancel your request. The reason for this is that in some areas, especially around the airport entrances, the local authorities are penalizing Uber vehicles.
19 November 2018 Update
Unfortunately, it looks like Uber operations are hampered in Turkey because of penalties, although not completely banned. In recent days, many Uber vehicle calls have ended with the cancellation of the call by driver. Drivers say that this is because of the penalties. However, this affects the presence of Uber. One of the issues that Uber makes a difference is its solution speed. If you need to wait for half an hour for an Uber vehicle, Uber doesn't mean much. Therefore, we can say that use Uber in Turkey is decreasing day by day. So, is there any alternative to Uber in Turkey? Two different web applications are available in Turkey which can be assumed as an alternative to Uber; itaksi (available only in Istanbul) and bitaksi (available in Istanbul and Ankara). Of course, both applications are not a complete alternative, since both implementations ultimately serve only with official taxi cars. However, in both applications, there is less likelihood of a taxi scam because of the rating system.
28 January 2019 Update
According to a statement made by the Association of Licensed Carriers (association which generally Uber Drivers are members of), 30-40 Uber vehicles per day are banned from traffic. In this case, the driver is given legal assistance by Uber Turkey lawyers. Usually, these vehicles can return to traffic in a few days. However, this situation also worries Uber drivers. Many Uber calls are being canceled with the fear of being banned from traffic by police. Still, despite all efforts to prevent, Uber Turkey continues to pursue its activities. However, as mentioned above, the waiting times and the prices are increasing as the vehicle numbers decrease.
By the way, is Lyft available in Turkey? Lyft is rapidly growing its popularity and is a good alternative to Uber at many places; but not in Turkey. Unfortunately Lyft is not available in Turkey yet.
4 April 2019 Update
Uber Turkey announced that they will continue operations mainly focused on taxis; they will reduce UberXL operations in Turkey. This shows the decrease of Uber operations in Turkey in the near future. Even in this situation, instead of taking independent taxis, using Uber taxis may result getting better service from regular taxis thanks to the rating system.
31 May 2019 Update
At the end, the expected happened. Today, Uber Turkey officially announced that Uber has cancelled the UberXL service in Istanbul. From now on, Uber Turkey will only give service with taxis in Istanbul. For Marmaris, Bodrum and Cesme, the UberXL service still countinues for now.
7 October 2019 Update
When UberXL vehicles in Istanbul are banned from traffic, Uber continues with taxis in Istanbul. Of course, this means compromising on classic Uber quality. It was reported that the taxis recently called over Uber did not arrive; they first accept the call and then cancel it. When the taxi driver finds a guaranteed customer on the way to you, he easily cancels your request as he has to give you a commission for the customer he finds on Uber. Therefore, if you call a taxi via Uber in Istanbul, you run the risk of waiting a long time.
16 October 2019 Update
From the time the above article written to today, it has undergone several updates due to changes in policies against Uber in Turkey. With the court's decision on October 16, 2019, Uber app and Uber website has been blocked to access in Turkey. It is unclear whether or not Uber will continue in Turkey, but for failing to provide access to the Uber app from Turkey, Uber currently not available in Turkey.

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