Istanbul public transport


November 28, 2021

In Istanbul, there are many means of public transport available to the city’s more than 14 million inhabitants. Public transport in the traditional sense began in 1871 with the commissioning of the first horse-drawn railway, although in 1851 steamboats were already operating between the European and Asian sides, which can be considered a form of public transport. The funicular railway called Tünel was started in 1874, and by 1914 electric trams were running on the European side of the city. A key element of Istanbul’s modern public transport is the metro, which is under continuous development and will have six operating lines in 2020, and the city government plans to extend its length to 1,000 kilometers after 2019. In 2013, the Marmaray Tunnel, which runs under the Bosphorus, was opened to include suburban railways (banliyö). In addition to the Tunnel, the railway network is complemented by two other funicular railways and two cable cars. Istanbul’s bus network is operated by two companies with more than 4,000 vehicles on 750 lines. The largest train station for long-distance buses is Istanbul Bus Station. There is also a special high-speed bus network in Istanbul, Metrobus. Dolmuşs, which are typical of Turkish cities, are also widespread in Istanbul and function as a taxi on a fixed route. Water transport is an important part of everyday life in the city, with many ferries and water buses running between the two shores of the Bosphorus. Istanbul is served by three international airports, the Atatürk Airport named after the state founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on the European side of the city, the Sabiha Gökçen Airport named after Atatürk’s adopted daughter on the Asian side, and the Istanbul Airport handed over in 2018. You can pay on Istanbul’s public transport with Istanbulkart, a smart card smart card payment system.

Start of public transport

Istanbul's public transport officially began on August 30, 1869, when a 40-year concession contract was signed for the construction and operation of a road rail network in the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was awarded to a man named Krepano Efendi. Prior to that, three had applied for the concession for several years, but all plans were rejected. The company of Krepano Efendi İstanbul Tramvay Şirketi (Istanbul Horse Railway Company) started on the Azapkapı-Beşiktaş line in 1871 and then operated three more lines in two years. The company received a concession to operate omnibuses that transported passengers to the horse-drawn railway from the more distant districts. Also in 1871, the construction of the Tünel (funicular railway) between Pera and Galata began, which was put into operation at the end of 1874. Its concession was won by Eugene Henri Gavand for 42 years. In 1914, the horse-drawn carriage was replaced by electric trams throughout Istanbul. Ships and boats have long played an important role in the transport of Istanbul, which were replaced by regular steamships from 1851 with the establishment of the first Ottoman steamship company. Starting from Eminönü, they traveled to several ports, the busiest line leading to Galata. The system developed rapidly, lines were expanded, and in addition to passenger transport, freight ferries also traveled through the Bosphorus. The nature of public transport is shown by the fact that it was cheaper for students, children and soldiers, and for those belonging to the security department of the police and jandarma, as well as those working at the town hall. The ships were manufactured in England and the engineers were also foreigners. Fixed track networks

Electricity network

There are two modern tram lines in Istanbul, the Kabataş-Bağcı marked T1

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