Local Transport in İstanbul
Public transportation in Istanbul varies greatly. Municipality buses (IETT), public buses, inner city and general ships, car ferries, the tunnel, metro and suburban train systems all vary in price and have either tokens or ticket fares to pay. If your decision lies with living in Istanbul, it is essential that you obtain an Istanbulkart – Istanbul Card (former Akbil), smart electronic card where you can use for all public transport.
Taxis are numerous in all Turkish cities and are recognizable by their yellow color and word “taksi” on top of the car. All taxis have the letter T in their license plates. The fare shown on the meter reads according to distance traveled. The rates for day and night are same. The meter starts at 2.95 TL, and 1.73 TL per kilometer. (As of December 17, 2011). Please note that the passenger pay the crossing fee of the Bosphorus bridges whether destining to European or Asian side.
Here are a few useful sayings that might come in handy: Turn off the music – müziği kapatın, Close the window – camı kapatın, Open the window – camı açın, Stop here -burada durun, Left – sol, Right – sağ, Turn on the meter – taksimetreyi çalıştırın,Wait please – lütfen bekleyin, Wait here – burada bekleyin,
There are two types of bus lines in Istanbul.
– One is run by the municipality, Belediye Otobüsü, these busses are red, green and lilac or covered with colorful advertisements. On these buses you can use your Akbil, special discount cards or tickets that you can buy around any major bus stop.
– The second type of bus is privately run, Halk Otobüsü, blue and again, allowing you to use your Akbil, special discount cards or, in this case, money. Tickets are not welcome on these buses but the price is the same.
On some of the more lengthy destinations the double-decker buses can pleasantly surprise you. These buses require 3 tickets if passing over the Bosphorus bridge and 2 for other regular destinations. The green colored double-deckers are privately owned thus require cash payment and not tickets. However your Akbil is valid on these buses, as well.
It is quite unfortunate that Istanbul, a city with a population of 10 million is home to one of the most inadequate metro lines. There are three lines presently; one stretching from Kabataş to Eminönüand to Zeytinburnu via Aksaray and another line from Aksaray to Atatürk International Airport via Yenibosna, passing through Otogar. The last line is a real under ground system and connects Şişhane, Taksim, Osmanbey, Şişli-Mecidiyeköy, Gayrettepe, Levent, 4.Levent, Sanayi, Seyrantepe, İTÜ-Ayazağa, Atatürk Oto Sanayi, Darüşşafaka, Seyrantepe-Stadyum and Hacıosman. Your Akbil is valid here.
How to get From the Istanbul (Atatürk) Airport to Your Hotel
-Taking a taxi to your hotel is the most common used and most convenient option. If you’re travelling with a party of four, it’s even as cheap or expensive as the shuttle services. Just walk out of the airport – disregard the hustlers inside the airport trying to give you a ride – and you’ll see the official taxis nicely lined up. In about half an hour (without traffic jams) he’ll take you to Sultanahmet for about 40 TL, a ride to Taksim will take a few minutes more and will set you back for 50 TL.
-Havataş is a municipality owned reliable airport shuttle service. You can find them outside the airport terminal, in the second lane. Every half hour, between 04:00 and 01:00, one of their buses heads for Taksim. The current pick-up and drop-off point is in front of the Point Hotel, just past Taksim Square. The ride costs 14 TL per person (luggage included) and takes approximately 40 minutes depending on traffic.
-You can also use public transportation to reach your hotel. First hop on the metro in the airport (underground) in the direction of Yenikapı. At that station, not necessary the final destination of the metro, you must get off and take the M2 Yenikapı-Hacıosman metro in the direction of Taksim.
-And also, Hotel Troya (Conference Hotel) offers (upon request) an airport pick-up. The transfer shuttle service to the hotel would be € 30 with a maximum of 4 people at a time.
How to Get From Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport to Taksim or Sultanahmet
-Unless money is no object, stay clear from taking a taxi from the Sabiha Gökçen airport. A ride to Taksim or Sultanahmet may easily take over an hour. Accordingly, you’ll have to pay 80 TL and upwards.
-Havataş to Taksim – This is the most straightforward route. Outside the airport, find the Havataş bus heading for Taksim. These buses operate daily between 04:00 and 01:00. The current pick-up and drop-off point is in front of the Point Hotel, just past Taksim Square. The ride costs 14 TL per person (luggage included) and takes approximately 90 minutes, depending on traffic. You can get off at a few places, but most tourists will want to get off at Beşiktaş or Taksim, depending on your destination.