Various transportation vehicles are available in Istanbul, one of the biggest cities in Europe. Railroads, bus lines, and trams are supported by sea vehicles that travel between two continents.
The city has an integrated electronic ticket system which uses smart RFID cards called Istanbulkart. The website www.iett.gov.tr submits detailed information on transportation alternatives.
In addition, Istanbul offers an extensive mass transit network including metro, light-rail, buses and shared taxis, as well as a fleet of over 17,395 taxis.
Mass transit is easy to use and affordable.
Metropolitan buses in Istanbul are frequent and economic. They travel to almost any point within the city and some villages around the city.
The “metrobus”, which operates between Söğütlüçeşme on the Asian side and Avcılar on the European side, is another popular transportation alternative that can save a lot of time.
Marmaray, the rail connection between European and Asian Istanbul via a tunnel beneath the Bosphorus, joins the stations at Halkalı, Kazlıçeşme, Yenikapı and Sirkeci in Europe with the stations at Üsküdar, Ayrılık Çeşmesi and other stations in Asia all the way to Gebze, making it possible to cross from Old Istanbul in Europe to the Asian shore of the Bosphorus in a matter of minutes.
The Istanbul Metro is a mass-transit underground railway network. Istanbul's metro consists of 7 lines. 5 of the lines are on the European side and 2 of the lines are on the Asian side. There are 2 new lines scheduled to be opened soon.
The tram lines are Zeytinburnu-Kabataş, Güngören-Bağcılar and Edirnekapı-Sultançiftliği. Taksim, the cultural and entertainment center of the city, is accessible from Kabataş by a short funicular railway. A light rail line, known as M1, runs from Yusufpaşa, near Aksaray, to Esenler and Atatürk Airport.
The sea route is usually the quickest way between the European and Asian sides, particularly during rush-hour. Ferries connect the two sides of the city. There are city-line ferries that run the length of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn, and from the islands. There are also tourist excursions along the Bosphorus.
Smaller private motorboats that depart from Beşiktaş on the European side drop their passengers at Üsküdar on the Asian side in six minutes. The modern catamarans are for those who want to get about quickly.
Licensed taxis in Istanbul are yellow and have registration numbers on the sides. They can be found on the ranks or can be hailed on the street. Hotels, restaurants, and bars can provide taxi. Bridge tolls are added onto the taxi fare.
One practical solution to transportation in Istanbul is the dolmuş, a shared taxi seating 7 or 8 passengers that operates on specific routes through the busiest parts of the city until midnight.