Number of taxis in Istanbul to be increased: Mayor

The number of taxis in Istanbul will be increased for the first time after many years, because they are not enough for the city's large population, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has said in an interview with private broadcaster Fox TV.

Stressing that the total number of taxis in Istanbul is 17,395, İmamoğlu noted that this number is inadequate, and, therefore, unmonitored alternatives like "pirate taxis" were mushrooming across the city.

Heralding that the number of taxis will be increased with the new project, İmamoglu said that the owner of the taxis will be the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

"The owner of the taxis will be the municipality with a leasing model and a controlled system," he said.

Noting that they will rent 5,000 taxis, İmamoğlu said the taxi deficiency in the city will be eliminated and they will keep the market in balance.

İmamoğlu's latest remarks attracted the anger of the taxi plate owners.

"The number of taxis in the city is sufficient," said Veli Yurt from the Istanbul Taxi Drivers Tradesmen's Association, adding that "taxi drivers do not support this project."

"The traffic problem should be resolved first and then the number of taxis should be arranged," he said.

There are 17,395 licensed taxis operating and the new taxi plates have not been on sale since the 1960's with the exception of complementary decisions in Istanbul, the country's largest metropolis with a population of over 16 million.

A plate for a yellow taxi is priced around 1.9 million liras (nearly $280,000).

Turkey,

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