Istanbul Public Transport Guide: Metro, Marmaray, and More

Getting around Istanbul public transport is quite easy. We answer your questions about transportation in Istanbul! This is a big city. But getting from one place to another is relatively easy. Come, let’s take a look at how intra-city transportation is provided to the town.

Istanbul Public Transport

The history of public road transportation in Istanbul dates back to 1869. The Ottoman Empire signed an agreement to build a tramway system in the city. This led to establishing the Dersaadet Tramway Company in the town, and the government began constructing the tunnel facilities.

In the past, French and British companies operated public vehicles in Istanbul on multiple occasions. However, in 1939, all public vehicles were nationalized. Furthermore, the operation of these vehicles was transferred to Istanbul Electric Tramway and Tunnel Enterprises, also known as IETT.

Transportation in the City

Istanbul Public Transport

Today, the rail systems in Istanbul are established and operated by Metro Istanbul, a subsidiary of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Additionally, buses, which are highly efficient for inner-city transportation in Istanbul, are coordinated by IETT (Istanbul Electric Tramway and Tunnel Enterprises). Sehir Hatlari, a subsidiary of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, manages the traditional ferries between the two continents.

Some central neighborhoods in Istanbul provide convenience for inner-city transportation. For example, in Kadikoy, you can use various means of transportation such as the metro, Marmaray, Metrobus, ferries, and trams. Mecidiyekoy, a district within Sisli, is also an essential neighborhood because it is an intersection point for several transportation lines.

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Istanbul Public Transport

Istanbul Public Transport

There are various forms of public transportation in Istanbul that you can use to get from one place to another. The metro, Marmaray, buses, ferries, trams, taxis, and dolmus (shared taxis) are among the most commonly preferred public transportation options. Depending on your destination, you can choose one of these transportation options for your journey.

You must obtain an Istanbul Public Transport Card or Istanbul Kart to use vehicles. You can get your IstanbulKart from the machines at the stops or designated sales points. Also, you can benefit from this service by downloading the municipality’s Istanbul transportation application.

Istanbul Public Transport

With the Istanbul transportation app, you can make online payments. In the app, you can load money onto your transportation card using a credit card.

Furthermore, this app provides easy navigation and directions, making it convenient for those who are not very familiar with the city.

Istanbul Public Transport: Metro

Istanbul Public Transport metro

Istanbul residents frequently use the metro to commute to work or school. The metro networks in the city are operated by Metro Istanbul, affiliated with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB). And by companies under the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure on behalf of the Turkish State Railways (TCDD). Additionally, there are 137 stations in Istanbul, with 52 on the Anatolian side and 85 on the European side.

Istanbul Public Transport: Marmaray

Istanbul Public Transport marmaray

Marmaray is a suburban railway system that serves the cities of Istanbul and Kocaeli. The Marmaray line consists of a total of 43 stations, with 38 located in Istanbul and others in Kocaeli province.

Istanbul Public Transport: Otobus

Istanbul Public Transport otobus

You can also rely on buses if you prefer not to use the rail systems. Moreover, Istanbul’s buses offer a high level of comfort. The IETT has 2,824 of its vehicles and 2,050 privately owned public buses.

Buses provide transportation to various points; you can wait at bus stations. However, you may want to avoid rush hours when using the bus for commuting, as the city center’s traffic often becomes heavily congested.

Istanbul Public Transport: Metrobus

It is a public transportation system operated by IETT. Additionally, metro buses transport approximately 800,000 Istanbul residents daily along the Sogutlucesme – Beylikduzu route. There are a total of 44 stations in the Metrobus system.

Istanbul Public Transport: Ferry

Istanbul Public Transport ferry

You can choose the route to arrive at your destination on time and enjoy a pleasant journey. In Istanbul, ferry services are coordinated by Sehir Hatlari and private operators. There are various types of ferry routes, including inner-city ferry lines, Bosphorus ferry lines, island ferry lines, and car ferry lines.

Istanbul Airport Transportation 

Istanbul has three significant airports: Sabiha Gokcen Airport, Ataturk Airport, and Istanbul Airport. However, Ataturk Airport is no longer open to commercial traffic.

Ataturk Airport is on the European side, while Sabiha Gokcen Airport is on the Asian side. Also, Istanbul Airport, the newest airport in Istanbul, is on the European side.

You can use public transportation to access the airports in Istanbul.

Transportation Information for Istanbul Airports 

Istanbul Public Transport

You can reach Istanbul Airport using the Havaist or Metro. You can take M11 to get to the airport. For more detailed information about Havaist, please check their website. This is the fastest method of transportation to the new Istanbul Airport.

You can use the metro and buses to Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW). Especially on the Anatolian side, many buses go to this airport. However, the bus schedules for entering the terminal may vary.

Istanbul Public Transportation Fees 2024

Istanbul’s transportation fees are a topic of great interest. Let’s look at the changes in public transportation fees for 2023.

How much is public transport in Istanbul? Here are the Istanbul transportation prices:

  • Total electronic ticket price: 17,7 TL
  • Student electronic ticket price: 8,64 TL
  • Teacher electronic ticket price: 12.67 TL
  • Full monthly akbil (smart card) price: 1,389 TL
  • Student monthly akbil (smart card) price: 250 TL
  • Taxi meter initial fare: 30 TL
  • Taxi short-distance fare: 100 TL
  • Minibus/Dolmus get-on and get-off fare: 15,5 TL

These prices can serve as a guide when planning your budget for using public transportation. Consider these fares when choosing a transportation method that suits your needs.

How to Get to Istanbul Airport? 

Istanbul Airport is a relatively new facility, having opened in 2018. Therefore, you might not know how to get to Istanbul Airport. Let’s briefly explain.

Getting to Istanbul Airport is relatively easy. This is because you can use the Istanbul Airport metro station on the M11 metro line of Istanbul. This station has been in service since January 22, 2023.

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Now that you understand transportation in Istanbul, how about exploring the city using one of its public transportation options? You can start by visiting Sisli, one of Istanbul’s most central neighborhoods. If you think it’s a fantastic idea, check out our guide, “Places to Visit in Sisli,” for a deeper insight into the beautiful attractions that await you. Enjoy your journey through Istanbul’s vibrant streets and neighborhoods!

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