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Public transport

Consult Istanbul’s public transport site (in English) - www.iett.gov.tr/en/index.php - for information about the city’s transport network (metro, tramways, boats and buses).

The city of Istanbul provides travellers with a magnetic pass, akbil that can be used on all the city’s public transport, including buses, metro, boats, funiculars and trams. The akbil can be used for several people at the same time (providing it is “swiped” several times). Journeys with an akbil pass cost 10% less than when purchased singly.

Two underground metro lines, independent of each other, run in Istanbul. The main line, which leaves from Aksaray, has a section that goes to Atatürk airport and another to Essenler (Otogar) bus station. The other line leaving from Taksim runs to 4 Levent Station (the northern business district).

There are two main types of buses: red or green city buses (IETT) and orange or blue private buses covered in garish advertising. In the latter, the akbil or city bus tickets are not always valid.

A single tramline crosses the historic Sultanahmet peninsula from Aksaray to Kabatas (and it is planned to extend it to Dolmabahçe). Pleasant and air conditioned, it runs along the same streets as motor vehicles and is thus frequently slowed down by traffic.

Taxi and dolmuş

All the taxis (taksi) are painted yellow. Check that the meter (kontör) is properly connected during the day and that it isn’t on the night rate (twice as expensive).

The cheapest form of transport is the dolmuş. The itineraries are preset and the rates vary depending on the distance. Dolmuş leave when they are full (9 to 12 people). The wait discourages most tourists, but is however rarely very lengthy.

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