A great taxi ride

I recently had the best taxi ride of my life.

I opened the Bitaksi app and called a taxi to my home. Cengiz Atakul, a driver, responded within 10 seconds. As Cengiz was able to see my location on the map, he directly came to pick me up within 2 minutes of my request. We didn’t need to communicate on the phone.

Up until now, this is a great experience but nothing extraordinary.

As I entered the taxi, I was amazed by how clean it was and its pleasant smell. This is not the case for every taxi in Istanbul.

After entering, Cengiz asked how I was doing and this led to a deep conversation. There was a lot of traffic on the road so we had quite a bit of time to talk despite the short distance I was traveling. We talked about his experiences using Bitaksi, including the time when he took a family to their son’s girlfriend’s family’s home to ask for her hand in marriage. This is a common ritual in Turkey. Since the home was outside the city, the family was worried that they wouldn’t be able to find a taxi for the ride back. So they didn’t let Cengiz leave and he attended the ceremony together with the family.

Another highlight which Cengiz described was when, before beginning a ride, a student passenger shared that he didn’t have any cash. The student requested that his parents transfer the money to Cengiz’s account later. Cengiz kindly accepted the ride and sure enough the money arrived at his bank account a few days later.

Finally, I talked about how surprised I was that passengers rarely tip taxi drivers in Turkey. While it’s common to tip at restaurants, this practice hasn’t yet made it to taxis.

I was enjoying the conversation so much that I didn’t want the ride to end. However, end it did. The fare come to 21 TL and I added a 4 TL tip to Cengiz to show how happy I was with the amazing service he offered that day. I gave him a 5 star review, and although I didn’t do anything to deserve it he did the same for me (drivers also review passengers on Bitaksi).

Bitaksi gives drivers like Cengiz the opportunity to differentiate their high level of service from other taxi drivers in Turkey. It also gives passengers the opportunity to enjoy their ride.

Thanks Cengiz. At this rate, tipping taxi drivers may soon become the norm.