The Mahmutbey district in Istanbul’s Bağcılar district is best known to motorists as a busy part of a toll road. Home to the most congested traffic jams in a city famous for its traffic jams, especially at peak hoursMahmutbey is now at the heart of a trial.
An association of consumers and residents living near the road want the tolls removedclaiming that the neighborhood is now considered part of the city and the cabins no longer serve their original purpose, i.e. to charge drivers seeking to circumvent other roads while traveling through the city in transit.
the original toll booths in the area crossings of the trans-European motorway (TEM) have been removed in 2016 and superseded with an electronic detection system facilitating traffic a little drivers no longer have to stop for Payments. But locals complain about having to pay then people in other parts of Istanbul is not obliged, even if it is also commuters.
The trial is first the hearing has started on Tuesday at the Eighth Administrative Court of Istanbul, with the participation of plaintiffs, including the Association of protection of consumers (TÜKODER).
Speaking to the Demirören News Agency (DHA) after the first audience, the president of TÜKODER, Aziz Koçal, explained that the toll booths were “out of the city” in 1988 when they were first erected but now they are in the middle. “People living in districts and neighborhoods including Avcılar, Halkalı, Bahçeşehir, Esenkent, Ikitelli either have to pay or take the side roads where the traffic is much worse. If you live and work in a district on the section of the road near the toll road, you can travel for free of load but if you work on one side and reside on the other, you have to cross the toll road. It’s a double standard,” he said. “In reality Both live in a residential area.” Koçal claimed the tolls breached equality laws in the Constitution and violate consumer rights. “Transport Services (use of roads) should to be for free inside city limits. It is no longer a transit route. It is a road serving neighborhoods inside the city. We hope the court rule in to favor of the people,” he said.
Aydan Kara, one of the plaintiffs said she was a resident of Bahçeşehir district for the past two decades and has to pay to travel back back and forth. “I have to pay while driving homedriving to work or anywhere else. People in other districts do not have to. Why should I?” Kara said the toll road was already a source of distress, explaining, “It usually takes 45 minutes to get from my home to the toll road but without traffic it is only 10 minutes. This means more fuel cost for me and more stress.” The toll road, once surrounded by vast fields and wastelands, now passes through booming suburbs dotted with with high-rise residential buildings as well as business centers.
Taner Göçmen, another plaintiff, said he had to pay on average of about $1 (15 TL) every day. “The highway is the only way for me to go to work,” he said.