Public transportation in Istanbul (Full Guide)
Istanbul is one of the most important cities in the world as it constitutes an active commercial and tourism center in Turkey, so the Turkish government is interested in expanding transportation lines to every district in Istanbul, as the Turkish government recently launched the Her yerde Metro, Her yere Metro campaign.
Transportation in Istanbul is characterized by its efficiency and low prices compared to many countries in the world. Istanbul Metro was recently ranked as the best metro in the European continent, where the trains are characterized by regularity, discipline and cleanliness.
In this article, a complete guide on how to move around in Istanbul, transportation lines and transportation prices in Istanbul, and many other details of interest to tourists and residents in Turkey. This guide is the reference that will make it easier for you to search and choose the most appropriate means of transportation for you in Istanbul, the large city with vast areas of diverse terrain, which spans the continents of Asia and Europe, separated by the Bosphorus Strait, one of the most beautiful areas in the world.
What public transportation can I use in Istanbul?
There are many public transportations in Istanbul that residents and tourists in Istanbul can travel through, as follows:
- Vapur "water ferries"
In this file, a map of Istanbul shows the transportation lines and the areas they pass through. Click to download the file:
The start of the Metrobus line project was in 2003, where the Greater Istanbul Municipality came up with a practical and urgent idea to solve the traffic congestion problem in Istanbul at the time, and came up with a line that combines the idea of the metro as a route, and the bus as a mean to transport, later called (metro-bus). Planning and implementation of the project began in 2005, the first phase of it was opened in 2007, and the last phase in 2012.
The Metrobus line consists of two opposite directions, one to go and the other to return. The length of this line is 52 km. It is intended for buses only, so that cars on both sides of the line cannot enter the metrobus track, except for police and ambulance cars sometimes.
The Metrobus is considered as the most important means of transportation in Istanbul, as it connects all areas of Istanbul to each other and also connects the European side with the Asian side of the city. The Metrobus line is the fastest transportation line in Istanbul. It is also considered one of the longest transportation lines in Istanbul. There are buses in large numbers that pass between the stations continuously, non-stop 24/7. Istanbul municipality owns a large fleet of 535 metrobus buses, and it intends to increases this number with the continuous increase in the number of visitors and residents of the area. What distinguishes the Metrobus line is that it passes on the E5 highway without being affected by traffic congestion, and it has two lines, one to go and one to return. In addition, in each Metrobus station there is a special machine for filling in the Istanbul Transportation Card, through which you can use public transportation.
The first metrobus station is located on the Asian side of Istanbul, which is "SÖĞÜTLÜÇEŞME" station, and its last station is in Beylikduzu in the European side of Istanbul, BEYLİKDÜZÜ SONDURAK.
Each metrobus bus goes to a specific station and stops there as a last destination, with the aim of reducing congestion inside the buses, as follows:
- 34 G connecting between Beylikdüzü Sondurak and Söğütlüçeşme
- 34 C connecting Cevizlibağ and Beylikdüzü Sondurak
- BZ 34 connects between Zincirlikuyu and Beylikdüzü Sondurak
- 34 links between Zincirlikuyu and Avcılar
- 34 AS linking between Avcılar and Söğütlüçeşme
- 34 A connecting Cevizlibağ and Söğütlüçeşme
- 34 U connect between Zincirlikuyu and Uzunçayır
- 34 Z connecting Zincirlikuyu and Söğütlüçeşme
The metro is an express train with rail and underground stations through special tunnels, used to travel through the city. Istanbul has 6 major metro lines located in the main areas of the city, connecting many neighborhoods of Istanbul to each other.
The following is a detail of the 6 Istanbul metro lines and their directions within the city:
- First line M1:
It is called Aksaray Metro, and it is the longest metro line in Istanbul, with 18 stations on the main line as well as a branch line with five stations. It connects between Ataturk International Airport and Yenikapi station. M1 metro line passes through a number of important stations, as follows:
- Emniyet Fatih: This station is considered very main and important, as it is located near the Emniyet in Fateh area, one of the important government departments through which residence permits were obtained and Turkish citizenship transactions were followed up.
- Otogar Istanbul: It is a major station with a large number of traveling buses, which transport tourists and travelers to most parts of Turkey.
- Zeytinburnu: Zeytinburnu area is an important transportation node in Istanbul, as it has metrobus station, metro station and the Marmaray coastal metro, so it is a major station that connects all the neighborhoods and districts of Istanbul to each other.
- İstanbul Atatürk Havalimanı: After the opening of the new Istanbul Airport, the Ataturk International Airport metro station has become unnecessary for residents or tourists, but the area remains vital and important.
- Second line M2:
This line was formerly called Taksim Line before it was extended to Sariyer. It has 16 stations, starting from Haci Osman Station to Yenikapı Station.
This metro line is considered one of the most important metro lines, because it passes through vital areas that most residents of Istanbul go to, such as Sisli and Taksim, which are business, shopping and entertainment centers. The following details for the most important stations that M2 metro passes through:
- Taksim: The first destination for tourists and the vibrant center of Istanbul, where Istiklal Street, markets, restaurants, hotels, museums, churches and other famous landmarks of Istanbul.
- Şişli: The most prestigious areas of Istanbul, which includes many luxury neighborhoods such as Nisantasi and Bomonti, which is the center of business, trade and shopping. Cevahir Mall is located right next to the metro station, one of the largest shopping centers in Istanbul, which includes many shops and international brands.
- Osman bey: Osman bey is considered a shopping area par excellence. It has Rumeli Street, which is a very famous street in Istanbul, with many cafes, restaurants, luxury and distinguished shops, dress boutiques, and others. Many high-end hotels are located in the area, such as the Radisson Blu Hotel, Istanbul Marriott Hotel, and many more.
- Levent: Levent is considered one of the most prestigious areas of Istanbul, where there are consulates and embassies, such as the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. There are also luxury shopping centers such as Kanyon Mall and Ozdelik Mall, and there are luxury residential complexes.
- Third line M3:
Also called the "Olympic Line", it passes through 11 stations, starting from Kirazlı Station to Başakşehir Station.
This metro line connects to Mall of Istanbul, the largest shopping mall in Istanbul, which includes many shops, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and children's amusement park. The metro line also passes near Masko, which is the largest market dedicated to furniture stores in Istanbul.
- Fourth line M4:
This metro line passes in the Asian side of Istanbul, it starts from Kadıköy Station and reaches Tavşantepe Station. The metro line includes 19 stations, and it is planned to increase the number of stations to reach the M4 metro line to Sabiha International Airport in Istanbul, Asia.
This metro line passes through major areas such as Kadikoy, Kartal and Pendik, which are tourist and residential areas, where residential projects, commercial complexes and shopping centers are spread. It also overlooks the Marmara Sea directly, which increases the value of these areas and the importance of this metro.
- Fifth Line M5:
Also called the Marmaray metro line, it is the costal metro that passes on the coast line and on the areas overlooking the sea. This metro line is also characterized by passing under the Bosphorus Strait, to be the first metro in Istanbul to pass under the water, and it connects the European side with the Asian side of Istanbul city, to be the second metro in Asian Istanbul.
- Sixth Line M6:
M6 metro line is the shortest metro line in Istanbul, with only 4 stations: Levent, Nispetiye, Etiler, Boğaziçi Üniversitesi/Hisarüstü.
The Tramway is a modern and fast electric train used to travel in Istanbul. It differs from the metro in that it has its own rail and runs in the streets of Istanbul. It differs from the metrobus in that it is a train and not a bus. It also stops at traffic lights due to its intersection with city streets at some points.
The Istanbul Tramvay consists of 4 lines, which are distinguished by their presence in the important tourist areas and popular markets that attract tourists, so the tramway is considered the most reliable means of transportation for tourists, and the details of these lines are as follows:
- T1 line: linking Bağcılar and Kbataş, it is the longest tramway line in Istanbul, with 31 stations. This line can reach Sultanahmet and Hagia Sophia, to Istanbul University in the Beyazit Campus, the main campus, Otogar or the bus station from which buses travel to cities outside Istanbul. It also connects Aksaray, Topkapi, Zeytinburnu, to kbatas, Mimar Sinan University and Karakoy
- T2 line: linking Taksim and Şişhane, and it is the historical train that has been in operation since 1871 until now
- T3 line: it runs in the Asian part of the city, linking Kadıköy and Moda
- T4 line: connects Habibler with Topkapı
Among the important areas through which the Istanbul tram line passes, are Sultanahmet area, where the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia are located, Beyazit area, where the covered market is the most important and most popular market in Istanbul, Karakoy area, where restaurants and high-end cafes are located, and the stone-paved old Istanbul streets, Eminonu area where the blue of the sea, ferries, ships, fishing boats, and other areas that reflect the beauty of Istanbul and its ancient history.
Water ferries | Vapur Hatları
Water ferries or Istanbul steamers are one of the famous means of transportation, linking the Asian and European sides, which are separated by the Bosphorus Strait, and the water transport service is provided by the Turkish government represented by Şehiriçi Hatları and the private sector in Turkey.
In addition to being a means of transportation, boat trips are one of the entertainment and tourist programs in Istanbul. You will have the most enjoyable experience in Istanbul when you take the Bosphorus trip or even when you move naturally between Istanbul, Yalova, Istanbul, Bursa and others.
Most ferries can accommodate about 700 to 2100 people, depending on the size and type of the ferry. Maritime transport stations and ports are very crowded during tourist seasons, holidays and in the weekend.
There are three main ferry ports in Istanbul: Yenikapi port and Kabatas port in the European side of Istanbul, and Pendik port in the Asian side of Istanbul.
Ferries pass from 5 stations in the European side of Istanbul, which are: Eminönü, Karaköy, Beşiktaş, Kabataş, and Yenikapı. It passes from 4 stations in the Asian side: Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Haydarpaşa, and Postanci.
Transport buses are the basic mode of transportation for many people, and they are completely similar to Metrobus buses, but smaller in size. They run in the streets and between residential neighborhoods. They have dedicated parking, and each bus has its own number or symbol, most of them have a yellow color. There are double-decker buses heading to vital areas, to accommodate the largest possible number of passengers, it is equipped with a payment machine such as the one at metro and metrobus stations, where the fare is paid through the Istanbul card for public transport.
There are more than 800 bus lines, and there are more than 6000 buses, connecting all parts and neighborhoods of the city to each other, making it easier for residents to move and reach the desired places. At the top of each bus there is an electronic board, on which is usually written the bus number and the areas it passes through. The timings of these buses can be known through the Mobiett application, both versions on the Android system and the iPhone system, the official application for transportation in the metropolis of Istanbul.
These buses connect you to all areas of Istanbul, and this service is characterized by its comprehensiveness and the ability to stop the bus at any of the designated stations located in most streets.
This is one of the traditional means of transportation, similar to the service in some Arab countries, except that the vehicle is a little larger, air-conditioned, organized, and sometimes even monitored by cameras. Dolmuş are small buses that transport passengers within specific paths and short distances, often within residential neighborhoods. The cost of transporting the passenger is calculated according to the distance and station he wants to reach, and the payment is cash, as it is not equipped with a payment device via Istanbul Card, and its fee ranges from 3 to 5 liras.
Taxi cars in Istanbul are always available on the streets, and a taxi can also be ordered through one of the applications iTaksi- Uber- BiTaxi, and it comes in yellow, turquoise and black colors, and these colors indicate the category of taxi.
The yellow taxis in Istanbul are Class C, which is the cheapest domestic class (eg Fiat Aegea, Renault Clio, Dacia Sandero).
The turquoise taxis in Istanbul are Class D, (eg Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat).
The black taxis in Istanbul are Class E, which are for VIPs (eg Mercedes E180 and Mercedes Vito).
Turquoise taxis are 15% more expensive than yellow taxis, and black taxis are 100% more expensive than yellow taxis.
Transportation prices in Istanbul
As for public transportation in Istanbul, there is a card called Istanbul Card, which is used in all public transportation in Istanbul by placing it on the screen of a machine dedicated to this card, and then the trip fare is deducted.
Istanbul Card Prices Tariff 2021
Ordinary card: 4.03 TL
Student card: 1.96 TL
Social card (for teachers and those over 60 years old): 2.88 TL
Akbil Blue Card Price Table for 2021
Regular card: 316 TL/month
Student card: 57.50 TL/month
Social card (for teachers and those over 60 years old): 196 TL/month
Istanbul e-ticket schedule 2021
Single pass: 8.00 TL
Two tickets: 13.00 TL
Three-time pass: 17.00 TL
Five-time pass: 26.00 TL
Ten times pass: 46.00 TL
As for the taxi in Istanbul, all taxis are equipped with a meter to calculate the trip fare. The meter starts at 5 liras as soon as you get in the car, and the lowest trip fare is 15 Turkish liras, and the longer the distance and the journey, the higher the fare.