Local Transportation in Istanbul


Local Transportation
Local Transportation

Taxis: It is very easy to find a taxi (Taksi in Turkish) in Istanbul and they are not expensive. You pay the fare as shown on the meter as a lira but if you cross the Bosporus, the toll for the bridge will be added to the cost as an extra. You should get the taxi driver to use his digital meter so you pay the official fare. There is just one rate and it is the same day and night. If you can say your destination's name in Turkish or have it written down, taxis are the easiest way to get around in Istanbul.

Tram: It is quick and clean and trams run frequently along a route which is useful for visitors because it runs along the touristic peninsula. Almost all tourist attractions are located in old Istanbul and tram is passing nearby all these places. Trams run every 10 or 15 minutes from 06:00 am to midnight every day. You can get a single ticket at the ticket kiosk, you can use your Istanbul Card transit pass on all tram lines or you can buy an Akbil (an electronic token) which you pay a deposit and buy a number of units. European side of Istanbul has more routes than Asian side. The best tram service starts from Zeytinburnu to Sultanahmet, the Hippodrome, and the historic center of Old Istanbul. From Sultanahmet it continues through Eminonu (ferry docks-spice market- new mosque are located), across the Galata Bridge over the Golden Horn to Karaköy Square (Galata, starting-point for the historical Tunnel up to Beyoglu's Istiklal Street) near the passenger ship dock. From Karaköy the tram goes to Tophane which is near the Istanbul Modern Art Museum, then to Kabatas, with its "Sea Bus" catamaran ferry dock and Funikuler (funicular tram) to Taksim Square. The tram line will eventually be extended northward along the European shore of the Bosporus via Dolmabahçe Palace to Besiktas (ferry dock).

Dolmus: Dolmus means in Turkish “full” because it waits at specific departure point till it has a full complement of passengers. Dolmus which is large yellow taxi that can accommodate up to 8 passengers follows a fixed route to its destination. You can learn destinations easily from the sign on the front window of the dolmus. On the price range, dolmus is between public bus and taxi, it is more expensive than public bus but also more comfortable than that. You pay the fare on board, bus tickets are not accepted. The most popular dolmus routes are: Taksim to Bostanci, Kadikoy, Bakirkoy, Yesilkoy, Atakoy, Topkapi, Findikzade or from Taksim to Besiktas, Nisantasi. When you want to get off you should inform the driver. 

Bus: Some buses belong to private operators and they are blue, some are municipal and they are green or red. Green and red ones accept a paper ticket or akbil, blue ones accept money or akbil. They run throughout the city. On most lines, tickets must be bought in advance from the ticket kiosks. There are regular routes from Taksim, Mecidiyekoy, Besiktas, Kadıkoy and Bostanci to many different parts of the city. Different bus routes have different departure hours that you can find as a list at the bus stops. Price is same regardless how long your journey is, just when you pass over bridges you pay double. 

Minibus: Minibuses can carry up to 15 people. You can learn destinations easily from the signs on the front window of the minibus or on a billboard at the top of it. No tickets in minibuses, only cash money will be paid to the driver. There are minibus stations in Sisli, Kadikoy, Besiktas, Bakirkoy to variety of destinations. When you want to get off you should inform the driver.

Ferryboat: Probably it is the most enjoyable ride in Istanbul. Ferries are also popular for locals. It is the best way to cross from Asia to Europe or from Europe to Asia shores without being stucked at the traffic. You can get timetable from ferry docks. It is possible to use akbil on most routes and ferry ride is very cheap. Ferry docks are in Eminonu, Sirkeci, Besiktas and Karakoy (Galata) on the European side. It is also possible to join one of the full day or one-hour Bosporus tours with ferries. You can enjoy the spectacular views of the fascinating city. Ferries run in two different timetables in winter from 15th of september to 15th of june, in summer from 15th of september to 15th of june.

Metro: Istanbul's metro consists of two lines first is from Aksaray to Havalimani (airport) which is longest other one is from Sishane to Ataturk oto sanayi. First one operates half on ground half underground, but the second one totally operates underground. You can buy Metro tokens at the ticket kiosk and the price is marked on a paper sign in the window. Metro runs from 6 am to midnight but from Ataturk airport via the Esenler Bus Station to Aksaray untill 1 am. Istanbul metro line which is very quick, clean and efficient, is developing but digging an underground metro in the crossroads of civilizations is very hard. New archaeological sites are found on each excavation.