By: Ng Scherly Hansopaheluwakan, S.E, MIB
Because of Turkey’s geographical position, the improvement of transport is a priority for both its economy and its social development. In recent years, Turkey has invested in improving its transportation infrastructure, which has contributed to developing foreign trade and tourism.
Travelling By Public Transport
Turkey has excellent bus services, which are the main form of public transportation, as they are inexpensive and rather frequent. There are some bus companies that have modern buses, but unfortunately very few, and the majority of the buses are not very comfortable.
Istanbul is a major metropolitan city, which is divided by the Bosporous strait between the two continents and hosts another significant form of transportation. There are private passenger boats and public municipality boats, which carry passengers from one side of the continent to the other. Regular passenger ferries and fast ferries also provide services for passengers wishing to travel between the shores of Bosphorus.
Tickets or coins are used for the public transportation in Istanbul, however over 60% of passengers use the “smart ticket” (Akbil) system with an electronic chip. There are free connections between different modes of public transportation, which makes travelling affordable.
Travelling By Train
Travelling by train is not as popular, although it can be more comfortable and safer in bad weather conditions. People usually prefer buses as they are faster, cheaper and provide better services.
The government has given special attention and priority to the railways. A large amount of investment has been allocated for the construction of a high-speed railway network, including a tunnel under the Bosporus strait, for both passenger and freight transportation.
Travelling by Taxi
There are numerous taxis all over Turkey, which are recognisable by their checkered black and yellow bands. Taxis operate using a metering system which starts at a base fare of 2.95 TL. Taxis can be rather expensive and it is recommended to agree on the fare beforehand, especially for longer journeys. Tipping is not necessary, but it is recommended to leave the change or round up the fare.
Dolmus is a minibus service that carries up to 8 passengers, which follows a pre-scheduled route and charges a fixed fare based on distance. It isvery practical and considered cheaper than a taxi.
Travelling By Car
Turkey’s road network is continuously improving. Major cities are connected with motorways and well-maintained modern highways. However, in the east and in rural areas roads may not be as good. Driving standards in Turkey are not very good and serious accidents are a frequent occurrence, despite the police presence and camera systems. It is recommended to drive with extreme caution and apply defensive driving techniques.
Travelling By Plane
Turkey has a network of five international airports and twelve additional domestic airports that are serviced by Turkish Airlines (THY) and a number of private airlines. While Ankara is the major connection point for domestic flights, Istanbul is the busiest airport and the main airport for international routes.
Another airline frequently used is Pegasus, which is very affordable and flies to many places locally and internationally.
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