What to Know About Public Transportation in Istanbul

What to Know About Public Transportation in Istanbul

foreign-correspondent badge finalThe joys of public transportation: you either like it or hate it. But if you are studying abroad, visiting, or on a business trip to Istanbul, public transportation is the way to go. People drive crazy here, often making dangerous turns, speeding down crowded small streets, and backing up with people right behind the car. It is not surprising to find little kids on their parent’s laps in the car and pedestrians are fair game here so watch out. Not kidding either.

Using the public transportation in Istanbul is a good, easy to navigate and the buses are clean and most of them have screens displaying the next and upcoming stops with announcements at every station. It is also inexpensive although being here for almost a month it all adds up.

Bogazici University in the Saryier district of Istanbul is far away from many of the main attractions of Istanbul so it often requires transferring from a bus to the tramway in Kabatas that goes to the old city where the Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya, Sultan Ahmet, Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Spice Bazaar, and the archaeology museum are located. Here you can easily transfer to another tram or bus, but you have to pay for that fare too while in New York City a transfer is included in your metro or bus ticket.

The tramways here are efficient, fast, convenient, and clean but only start in Kabatas, which is near the Dolmabache palace.

Many people use public transit so they can be quite crowded especially during rush hour. Traffic is a major problem here so plan accordingly when using public transportation. From many destinations around Istanbul it can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours depending on the traffic and the place you are visiting as you will most likely need to transfer at one point.

The tramways here are efficient, fast, convenient, and clean but only start in Kabatas, which is near the Dolmabache palace. Most of the buses stop in Kabatas, it is very easy to catch a bus from the tram, and the waiting times are short even when it is most crowded. But it all depends on the bus stop. At some, you will need to wait a long time as is the case at the Levent metro and Beskitas.

The metro in Istanbul is fast and clean, but the lines are very limited. The ferries here are nice; most of them depart from Kabatas, Beskitas, Karaakoy or Eminonou every twenty minutes. You can use your Istanbul card to ride them and the trips are pretty short depending on which part of the European or Asian side you are traveling to. There are buses that go through the Asian and European side as well and the buses run longer than the ferries since the ferries stop running around 10 PM. The ferries are a nice way to see Istanbul as well on a clear day.

Use common sense, don’t smile at men because that can have a suggestive meaning for some, and guard your belongings.

When you travel on public transit in Istanbul you will need an Istanbul card, which you can get at a stand called Akbil. This is where you can reload your cards as well. When you purchase one you are required to put a deposit of six liras, which is basically paying to purchase the card and then you need to load more money onto it to use it. Akbils are located near the bus stations, ferries, and metros. They are harder to find near tramways, but from an automated machine you can purchase a jeton or token, which you can use for the trams only. A one-way ticket on public transit is one lira and seventy cents. For more information about public transit schedules visit iett.com. They have an English setting as well on the page.

Use common sense, don’t smile at men because that can have a suggestive meaning for some, and guard your belongings. Men will let women sit down on the buses and trams if there is an empty seat because the bus rides can be long.

Don’t be afraid to use public transit in Istanbul. It will save you a bundle and will let you see Istanbul from the native point of view as cars are very expensive to buy here. Safe travels.

 

 

What to Know About Public Transportation in Istanbul

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