Guide to Using Public Transport in Turkey

Getting around Turkey is extremely easy – thanks to the wide range of transportation system in Turkey. From local buses to trains to taxis, here’s a detailed overview of the most affordable means of public transport in Turkey.

Local Buses in Turkey

Using a local bus as a means of transport in Turkey is a straight-forward affair. All you need to do is to make sure that you have the bus schedule and a payment card. The best thing about using a local bus is that if you’re boarding multiple buses within 2 hours of your use of your payment card, for example Istanbul Kart, you will receive a discount for your bus fare. Traveling in a bus is a great option, but be cognizant during rush hours. You might get stuck in traffic and might not make it to your destination on time.

Almost in every city of Turkey, a card payment system is used for public transport. For instance, Istanbul has “Istanbul Kart”, Bursa has “BuKart”, etc. You can purchase this card for 8 to 15 Turkish Liras (TRY). A single card will suffice for your entire family. All you have to do is to make sure that the card is topped up every time you intend to use it. For topping up your card, look for signs that say ‘ISTANBULKART DOLUM MERKEZI’. You can load credit in your card or purchase a new card from these karts.

Mobile applications can be useful for using public transports. For instance, with Mobiiett application, you can check the departure destination and time of any bus, or you can see where the bus is currently so you can reach the stop on time.

Tram Line & Metro in Turkey

If you are residing in a central place, using Turkey metro is a great option. Metro and trams are the fastest transport vehicles as they have no traffic issues. The metro lines in Istanbul are developed to the extent that you can even travel inter \continental. There is a metro line called “Marmaray” in Istanbul. This is the world’s first intercontinental metro line, connecting Europe and Asia through a tube beneath Bosphorus, and you can also use it to go to both the Asian and the European side of the city.

You can see the metro map in Istanbul here. To use the metro and tram line, you only need “İstanbul Kart”. Metro stations are marked with “M” in blue and red colours. There is an announcement system on all the metro stations. Upon reaching the station, you can easily find out about metro timing, schedule and destination routes.

The tram line starts at Kabataş and it allows you to reach touristic places like Sultanahmet, Topkapi Palace, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, Archaeology Museum, Beyazıt (Grand bazaar), Eminönü (Spice and Fresh Turkish Coffee Market), Sirkeci, etc. You can also use your İstanbul Kart while traveling through the tram line.

Ferry in Turkey

Istanbul is surrounded by the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea and they are united in Bosphorus Strait. So ferries are really important transport vehicles in Istanbul. They are cheap and clean, they let you cross to the other side in 15 minutes. You can use them with your Istanbul Kart. Here are the timetable and lines of ferries. You can buy drinks and foods on the ferries and have a relaxing voyage.

Minibusses in Turkey

Minibusses are faster than buses as they only stop when a passenger needs to board or alight. Minibusses only accept cash so you can’t use your Istanbul Kart. The price for each journey depends on your station. When you board, inform the driver of your station and he will let you know the price.

Turkish Dolmuş

Dolmuş is a kind of shared taxi. They are cheap and fast as compared to regular taxis in Turkey. Dolmuş leave their first destination as and when they are full capacity i.e. 8 people per ride. Like minibusses, they accept cash only. You just get in to dolmuş, inform the driver of your destination and you will know the price. They usually operate 24/7.

Funiculars and Nostalgic Trams

Funiculars are tram like vehicles and they are going only one station. There are 2 funicular lines in Istanbul – Karaköy-Tunel Funicular and Taksim-Kabataş Funicular. Karaköy-Tunel line is one of the oldest subways in the world as it dates back to the Ottoman Empire. You can use your Istanbul Kart to get in one of these funiculars to avoid an upslope walking. Nostalgic tram is another old means of transport in Turkey. It operates between Taksim and Tunel. You can take it to reach the famous tourist spot, Taksim Square and avoid walking!

Metrobus in Turkey

If you’re residing in suburban distrcits like Beylikdüzü, Fikirtepe, etc., metrobus will be your main means of transport to reach the central points of the city. These buses operate on specific paths in the middle of the highway. You can use your Istanbul Kart for payment purposes.

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