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Istanbul transportation network ..a continuous expansion parallel the country's ambition

Istanbul transportation network ..a continuous expansion parallel the country's ambition

Istanbul has the strongest transportation network in Europe, which serves nearly 16 million people, divided between 12 million Turks and 4 million foreigners. The network is a major part of the infrastructure development that the Turkish state has worked on, and is still developing it, especially since the state aims to extend the area of Istanbul to reduce the overcrowding of the old center, especially the new areas such as Basaksehir, Kaya Sehir and Arnavutkoy, the areas surrounding the new Istanbul airport, and improving the transportation network is one of the national plans that the state relies on in light of its targeting to increase the volume of foreign direct investment in general,and real estate investment by foreigners in particular.

Transportation network in Istanbul is characterized by its ability linking different regions with each other, especially linking the new areas with city center on one hand, and also linking the Asian part with the European one, also, it is characterized by its great diversity, which suits all strata, from public buses to sea taxis. This network covers all areas, whether with long-distance transportation lines such as the Marmaray Train and the Metrobus, and also the short-distance transportation lines that serve the side streets of neighborhoods and link them to the main transportation stations such as the Dolmus and minibus.

The payment method is also different, some of which are cash, and others are with the Istanbul Card.

The state, while creating this transportation network, did not neglect to connect it with new smart technology so that it is easier for citizens to know the schedule times of different lines and also its destinations, for this reason, many applications have been designed to help Turkish citizens to know bus times, sea ferry lines, and also taxis, In this article, we will show the most important transportation lines in the city of Istanbul whether land and sea means of transportations, as well as applications that help in moving to and from any area.

Istanbul Kart

Before explaining any type of transportation, you should know that one of the most important things that you have to buy once you arrive Istanbul is the Istanbul Card, especially if you intend to explore the city using public transportation, which is a transportation card used in all transportation in the city, and it is an electronic wallet prepaid card, used by placing it near a specific device near the driver when boarding the internal bus, where your fare amount is deducted from the card, and it is sold at commercial kiosks that sell newspapers, and near the main stops, and this card is used in more 90% of public transportation, buses, metro, Tram and also sea ferries.

Transportation is divided into public transportation, which belongs to the state, and it supervises and determines the tariff of each means from time to time. It includes buses, metro, metrobus, tramway, sea ferries, and the Marmaray train. As for private transportation, it belongs to individuals, such as Dolmuses and taxis, and is supervised by the state in organizing their work and determining the value of the tariff for its passengers.

Public buses

It is one of the common transportation that connects the different areas of Istanbul, where you can use Istanbul prepaid card, more than 800 lines with more than 6000 buses are found serving in Istanbul, and it is one of the economic means of transportation at the city, but its main problem is severe overcrowding at rush hours, which causes a slowdown in transportation, so it is not easy to accurately calculate the exact time of the trip, and the dates of these buses can be known through the Mobiett application, with its both versions of the Android system and the iPhone system, which is the official application for transportation in the metropolis of Istanbul.


The various metro lines operate from six in the morning until midnight. The metro network in Istanbul in particular is an impressive and surprising means of transportation at the same time, due to its diversity and strength, especially as it transports nearly 2 million and a half citizens daily, the network, that began in 1989 with one metro line M1, has now reached 8 metro lines with a length of 275 km, while the lines under construction will reach 180 km, but by the end of 2028 the state aims to reach 831 km.

There are currently 8 operating lines in Istanbul, which are:

  • M1 metro line connects Yenikapi and Ataturk International Airport station, it is at “European side”
  • M2 metro line connects Yenikapi and Haji Osman, it is at "European side".
  • M3 metro line connects Kirazli and Basaksehir, it is at "European side".
  • M4 metro line connects Kadikoy and Tushantepe, it is at "Asian side"
  • M5 metro line connects Üsküdar and Çekmaköy, it is at “Asian side”
  • M6 ​​metro line connects Levent and Boğazci University, it is at "European side".
  • M7 metro line connects Sisli "Mejidiyekoy" and Mahmut Bey, it is at "European side".
  • M9 metro line connects Olympiat and a marine station in Başakşehir, it is scheduled to be extended until it reaches Ataköy in the "European side".


There are 5 lines of tramways in Istanbul, transporting thousands of passengers between different parts of the city daily, operating through a railway network, running by electric power, and helping tourists to reach the most important modern areas and historical neighborhoods in Istanbul, passengers number uses tram and metro is increasing more than two million passengers per day, and the following are the most famous tramway lines in Istanbul:

  • T1 tram line connects Kabatas and Bagcilar, it is at "European side".
  • T2 tram line connects Taksim and Tonal, it is at "European side".
  • T3 tram line connects Kadikoy and Muta Çarşi, it is at "Asian Section"
  • T4 tram line connects Topkapi and Al-Salam Mosque it is at "European side".
  • T5 tram line connects Djibali to the Golden Horn and Ali Beykoy, it is at "European side".

Metro bus

It is the main means of transportation in Istanbul, the metrobus route at the E-5 highway is one of the fastest means among public transportation in Istanbul, as it is not affected by traffic, it runs at its own allocated route with a length of 50 km, transporting about one and a half million passengers per day, and linking Istanbul’s different regions with each other, as it starts from “Söğütlüçeşme” station in Asian side of Istanbul, and ends at “Beylikduzu” station at the European side, and it operates 24 hours a day, unlike the rest of the metro lines that operate Until midnight.

Marmaray Train

It is also one of the lines that connect the Asian side with the European side, and it starts from the Halkalı region of Kucukcekmece to the Gebze district at the end of the Asian side.

Ships and ferries

It is a marine public transportation that connects the two sides of Istanbul, the European side with the Asian side, and there are 5 ports in the European side and it operates within a certain range, and stops at specific stations, the stations of these ships are spread in Kabatas, Eminonu, Beşiktaş, Yani Kapi, Avcilar, and the ports of the Asian side are Kadıköy, Üsküdar, Haydarpaşa, and Bostanci.They are Kadıköy, Uskudar, Haydarpaşa, and Bostanci.

FeriBot Shipping Lines

In addition, there are regular shipping lines to transport passengers from Istanbul to other towns such as Princess Islands, Yalova, Bursa and others, and there are two main ports (Harem-Sirkeci), and the fees are paid directly through the ports on the ferry lines and are more enjoyable than the regular ferry because Its speed and its passage on attractive and enjoyable views between the ports, and visitors wishing to tourism in Turkey can easily book these trips through the website of the state shipping company (Istanbul Ferry Company) IDO.

Mini buses (Dolmish)

They are small yellow and blue cars like taxis, and they operate from early morning until late at night, including Sunday, and they are a fast and cheap means of transportation, it is used all over Turkey and not only in Istanbul, and the fare is paid in cash, but they have the same problem which is the overcrowd at rush hours, Dolmash is distinguished that it does not require using Istanbul card, unlike the rest of the transportation that requires the Istanbul card.


The most expensive means of transportation, and taxi centers are spread throughout Istanbul, and they are distinguished by its yellow color, and the problem of these taxis are in their drivers, some of them are reckless and others are crookers, and the second category spreads widely, where the driver exaggerates the request for fare, despite the fact that all cars of this category have meters , but they pretend that it does not work to force you to pay an expensive fare, so you have to be careful not to be defrauded by taxi drivers, especially since there are some drivers who deceive passengers, especially foreign ones, by walking through roads that waste time and cost the traveler more money. It also has specific applications such as ITaxi, which allows you to request a car, specify the starting and arrival point, and the application tells you the expected cost of the trip.

Most common used applications

There are a number of applications that help you moving to any destination within Istanbul, and most of these applications are designed by the Turkish government, including:

  • Istanbul Card application: It shows you what is left in the wallet of your card, and also through which you can recharge the card through the visa card.
  • Mobiett application: It is the official application of the bus network, through it you can find out how to go anywhere in Istanbul, bus numbers that help you to go to your destination, bus transit times for your nearest station, and also the bus schedule during the day.
  • Trafi application: It helps you to know all the timings of transportation from metro, ferries or buses.