Istanbul Public Transport (Complete Guide)

You came to Istanbul. And you want to visit the city without being persecuted by traffic, without being forced into using taxis. It can be difficult to move in Istanbul, one of the world’s most populous, fast and unplanned developing cities. Nevertheless, it is possible to reach many places by public transportation in Istanbul where a significant part of its huge budget is allocated for transportation investments. Here is the guide to Istanbul public transport for new arrivals to the city:

The increasing traffic in Istanbul increases the importance of public transportation day by day. The transportation network is developing day by day as well. Domestic and foreign tourists who come to Istanbul cannot get enough information about Istanbul’s public transportation system. So how does the public transportation system work in Istanbul?

In Istanbul, public transportation is made by using cash, tokens, electronic tickets, and İstanbulkart. You can use all means of transport such as buses, subways, trains, trams, and funicular by using an Istanbulkart, a token or an electronic ticket. It is recommended that you buy a single Istanbulkart in terms of the economy if you will be staying for a few days. If you are going to stay for a few months, you can buy a monthly card.

In addition, if you take a new public transport vehicle within a certain period of time such as an hour, Istanbulkart or blue card will transfer. So you will be charged less. This system does not apply to electronic tickets and tokens. If you will buy Istanbulkart, you can buy and fill it from kiosks or entrances of the metro stations, ferry docks, etc. In some vehicles such as taxis, minibusses, and certain boats, Istanbulkart, coins and electronic tickets cannot be used.

There are two types of public buses operated by IETT and private sector in Istanbul. In addition, the Metrobus line was completely separated from traffic. The only place it enters into the traffic is the bridge. Metrobuses work 24 hours a day. However, the voyages decrease after 00.00.

There are 16 rail system lines in Istanbul such as Yenikapı- Atatürk Airport Metro Line, Kirazlı- Olympiyat- Başakşehir Metro Line, Bağcılar- Kabataş Tram Line. Similarly, there are 21 ferry lines such as Bostancı-Karaköy, Kadıköy- Beşiktaş, Kadıköy- Eminönü. There are sea buses on these lines, ie IDOs. Yellow minibusses can be thought of as a shared taxi. Yellow minibusses are the public transportation vehicles frequently used in Istanbul. They are yellow in color and usually have a capacity of 8 people.

Public Transportation Types In Istanbul

Rail Systems in Istanbul

With a total length of 137 km, 5 subways, 4 trams, and 2 funicular lines, it is possible to travel on rail systems along the major main arteries of Istanbul. Some of the important areas that can be reached by rail systems are Atatürk Airport, Bayrampaşa Bus Station, Taksim, and the historical peninsula.

Railways in Istanbul are generally operating between 6: 00-24:00. You can see the departure times of the line and stop you are interested in by clicking on the Timetable section of the Istanbul Transportation main page and typing the exit/destination stops.

The only way to travel by rail between the two continents is Marmaray. It is possible to travel between Ayrılıkçeşmesi (Kadıköy) and Üsküdar on the Asian side and between Sirkeci, Yenikapı, and Kazlıçeşme on the European side by using Marmaray passing beneath the Bosphorus.

  • Price: 2,15 TL (Istanbul Card) – 4 TL (Tokens) *
  • Payment: Tokens, Istanbul Card, Blue Card, Electronic Ticket
  • Transfer: Each line is charged separately. Transfer within 2 hours is discounted for Istanbul Card users.
  • Disabled Access: All of the newly opened lines and some of the stations on the old lines are suitable for disabled access.
  • Bicycle: During peak hours (07.00-09.00 / 16.00-20.00), only foldable bicycles can be carried in the case or bag. All bicycles are free to carry during other hours.
  • Web Site:
  • Pets: Only guide dogs accompanying the visually impaired and small pets carried in cages are allowed.
  • Photo: Stations and commercial and educational photo shoots within the vehicle are subject to authorization.

*All prices as of August 2017

Metrobus Use in Istanbul

The Metrobus is the bus system on the preferential road along the E5 state road, which extends from Beylikdüzü on the European side to Söğütlüçeşme (Kadıköy) on the Anatolian side.

The 24-hour working Metrobus is the busiest line in Istanbul.

  • Price: $ 0,4 – 0.5 (Istanbul Card), $ 0.65 (Tokens) *
  • Payment: Token, Istanbul Card, Blue Card, Electronic Ticket
  • Transfer: Free transfer between Metrobus lines. Transfers within 2 hours after the use of Metrobus are discounted for the Istanbul Card users.
  • Disabled Access: 18 of 45 stations are eligible for disabled access (as of 26/01/2016)
  • Bicycle: During peak hours (07.00-09.00 / 16.00-20.00), only foldable bicycles can be carried in the case or bag. All bicycles are free to carry during other hours.
  • Web Site:
  • Pet: Small cage animals which are not predatory or venomous, and toy dogs that are carried on the lap and have only a neck collar.
  • Photo: –

*All prices as of August 2017

Bus Use in Istanbul

Although the rail network is widespread, it is not enough to reach Istanbul’s many settlements and business centers by railway. It is not very easy to walk the distance to/from the metro station in this city, which is built on hills, and where the vehicles still maintain the priority. Buses are the most common means of transport that can probably take you to the nearest point where you want to go.

Bus lines are too many to show on the map. However, on the map, you can take advantage of the “How to get there” panel which shows how to get around by public transportation. Buses’ working hours and travel times vary. It is possible to enter the line number of the bus you want to use from the main page of IETT and find its route and time.

  • Price: $ 0.35 (Double tariff on some long and bridge crossing lines) *
  • Payment: Istanbul Card, Blue Card, Electronic Ticket
  • Transfer: Transfers within 2 hours are discounted for the Istanbul Card users
  • Disabled Access: New buses are suitable for disabled access.
  • Bicycle: During peak hours (07.00-09.00 / 16.00-20.00), only foldable bicycles can be carried in the case or bag. All bicycles are free to carry during other hours. On the front sides of certain new buses, a bicycle can be carried without a time limit.
  • Website:
  • Pet: Small cage animals which are not predatory or venomous, and toy dogs that are carried on the lap and have only a neck collar.
  • Photo: –

*All prices as of August 2017

Steamer Use in Istanbul

Istanbul is a seaside city. This is why there are maritime solutions, especially between two continents. The main lines that can be traveled by ferries are: Eminönü – Üsküdar, Eminönü – Haydarpaşa – Kadıköy, Kabataş – Kadıköy, Karaköy – Haydarpaşa – Kadıköy, Beşiktaş – Kadıköy, and Beşiktaş – Üsküdar.

Apart from the main lines, there are Bosphorus, Golden Horn, Islands and Bosphorus Tour lines. City line steamers usually run all day long and stop their voyages after business hours.

  • Price: $ 0,4 – 0.5 (Istanbul Card), $ 0.65 (Tokens) *
  • Payment: Istanbul Card, Blue Card, Electronic Ticket, Token
  • Transfer: –
  • Disabled Access: The steamers are suitable for disabled access.
  • Cycling: You can carry a bicycle with you
  • Web Site: (Turkish and English)
  • Pet: Small cage animals which are not predatory or venomous, and toy dogs that are carried on the lap and have only a neck collar.
  • Photo: –

*All prices as of August 2017

Sea Bus Use in Istanbul

It is possible to travel by Istanbul Sea Bus between Bostancı and Kadıköy terminals on the Anatolian side and between Kabataş, Yenikapı, Bakırköy and Avcılar terminals on the European side. There is also a ferry service between Sirkeci-Harem. You can also access the tariffs of the sea buses from the tariffs menu at İDO’s website.

  • Price: $ 1 (Istanbul Card), $ 1.25 (Tokens) *
  • Payment: İstanbul Card, Token
  • Transfer: –
  • Disabled access: The sea buses are suitable for disabled access.
  • Bicycles: A maximum of 3 bicycles on the sea buses and 10 bicycles on the ferries can be transported at the same time.
  • Web Site (Turkish and English)
  • Pets: Animals carried in cages only (vaccination cards must be located near them).
  • Free to carry animals in the car on ferries.
  • Photo: –

*All prices as of August 2017

Boat Use in Istanbul

It is possible to travel between the Anatolian side, the European side and the islands with boats serving until late in some lines. The companies providing transportation services with boats are:

Dentur: Uskudar, Bostanci on the Asian side, Besiktas, Kabatas, Eminonu, and Bebek on the European side. Visit their website for routes and schedules.

Turyol: Uskudar and Kadikoy on the Anatolian side, Eminonu, and Karakoy on the European side. Visit their website for routes and schedules.

Prenstur: Serves between Kartal and Adalar. Visit their website for routes and schedules.

Mavi Marmara: Serves between Bostancı and Kabataş and the Islands. Visit their website for routes and schedules.

Beyden: Beykoz-Yeniköy and Paşabahçe-İstinye lines. Visit their website for routes and schedules.

  • Price: Companies have different price applications
  • Payment: Istanbul Card, Blue Card, Token
  • Transfer: –
  • Disabled Access: Access to the boats only by stairs
  • Cycling: You can carry a bicycle with you
  • Web Site: Every company has its own website
  • Pets: Pets allowed only in cage
  • Photo: –

Minibus Use in Istanbul

Another common public transportation system in Istanbul is minibusses. Although people generally complain about minibusses, they have a significant share in public transportation. Pricing can vary depending on where you take and land, you can learn by asking the driver. Cash (and, if possible, change) payment.

You can review the routes of the minibusses by entering the departure times in the traffic section and choose the minibus on Trafi app.

  • Price: Varies according to location
  • Payment: Cash
  • Transfer: –
  • Disabled Access: Limited number of new minibusses available for disabled access
  • Bicycle: Not accepted
  • Website: –
  • Pets: Pets allowed only in a cage
  • Photo: –

Payment Options for Public Transportation in Istanbul

Istanbul Card: The most common form of payment is Istanbul Card. The price of the card that you can use by loading money into it is $ 1. Istanbul Card which can be loaded with money from tolls and automatic machines can be used in all public transportation systems except for minibusses. Thanks to the card, both discounted rates ($ 0.4), as well as transfer discounts can be used.

Tokens: Tokens can be used in rail systems and sea vehicles. Their price is $ 0.8.

Tickets: Single, two, three, five and ten pass tickets can also be purchased. A single pass is $ 0.8 and ten passes is $ 5.25.

Blue Card: A private Blue Card can also be purchased which includes 180 passes per month. Its price is $ 33.5. On the other hand, the price of the Blue Card for students, which provides 200 passes per month, is $ 14.

Cash: In minibusses, payment is made with cash in the vehicle. There is no cash payment in any other transportation vehicle. If you do not have any cash with you, the only solution is to ask passengers to help you.

You can visit the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality website for the fee tariff for the services provided by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.

*All prices as of August 2017

Mobile Applications for Public Transportation in Istanbul

There are some applications that will make your life easier while using public transportation systems in Istanbul.

Trafi: All of the route and service information of the rail system, bus, sea, and minibusses, and the selected two-point route recommendation can be viewed with this application.

Moovit: All of the route and service information for all rail systems, buses, boats, and minibusses can be viewed.

Nasıl Giderim: All of the route and service information of the rail system, bus, sea, and minibusses, and the selected two-point route recommendation can be viewed with this application.

Mobiett: Service information of all buses and arrival times to the selected bus stops can be viewed.

Metroİstanbul: Route, route, usage and stop information of rail systems (except Marmaray), and route selection between two selected stations can be viewed.

Yandex.Metro: Only the route and service information of the rail systems and the route between the selected two stations can be displayed.

IBB Trafik: Traffic intensity status can be displayed in all main arteries of Istanbul.

Moovit App

Wondering how to move from one place to another in Istanbul by public transport? Traveling in Istanbul has never been so easy. Step-by-step directions to any school, shopping mall, cafe, hospital or street or an important public transport stop can be viewed by Moovit app. View bus and minibus schedules, arrival times, and service alert easily.

When traveling in Istanbul, use Moovit’s Live Directions and Get Off Time Notifications to know exactly where and how far to walk, how long to wait for your line, and how many stops are left. Moovit warns you when it’s time to go – there’s no need to be worried that you are going to miss the stop.

Are you curious about public transportation in Istanbul comparing with cities around the world? The Moovit Public Transport Index shows information and statistics on the use of public transport in more than 150 cities. Find the average shuttling and waiting times for passengers, the frequency of people traveling by public transport, and the average distance traveled each day in Istanbul. Check out which Metro, Tram, Train, Bus, Ferry or Funicular and stops are most popular in Istanbul and discover more!

Istanbul has 6 different means of transport: Metro, Tram, Train, Bus, Ferry or Funicular, operated by different companies: Metro Istanbul, Marmaray, Metrobus, City Lines, IDO, IETT, and Turyol.

Comprehensive Information About Istanbul City Transportation

IETT coordinates the urban road and sea transportation in Istanbul. In addition, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Bus Co. and minibusses play an active role in transportation. In Istanbul, the rail system was established and coordinated by Istanbul Transport A.Ş. Steamer services are operating under IETT. Urban transport in the city began in 1869 with the establishment of the Dersaadet Tramway Company and the construction of the Tunnel Facilities. After the company was operated by foreigners for a period of time, in 1939, with the law no. 3645, Istanbul Electricity Tramway and Tunnel (IETT) gained a new structure.

Transportation to Istanbul Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen Airport

There is an airport on both sides of Istanbul. Sabiha Gökçen Airport serves on the European side and Atatürk Airport on the Anatolian side. In addition, there is a 3rd airport which is newly built. You can reach the city by HAVABUS and metro from the airports. You can use the Yenikapı – Airport metro line to get to Atatürk Airport and easily reach by taxi and private vehicles. You can reach Yenikapı-Airport subway from the Asian side by Marmaray and from the European side by transferring from Metrobus, tram and other metro lines. Access to Sabiha Gokcen Airport is more limited. HAVABUS, which departs from Kadıköy and Taksim, as well as taxis, are the most used options used for transportation to the airport. Apart from these, works for the construction of Kadıköy – Tavşantepe Metro Line to Sabiha Gökçen are continuing. Also, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is 14 km from Pendik Train Station and you can reach the airport by taxi from here.

  • Kadıköy – Sabiha Gökçen Airport HAVABUS hours: 04.15 – 00.45 (every half hour)
  • Sabiha Gokcen Airport – Kadikoy HAVABUS hours: 04.00 – 01.00 (every half hour)
  • From Kadikoy Rıhtım IETT Station, total time is 60 minutes, the ticket price is $ 1.65.
  • Taksim – Sabiha Gökçen Airport HAVABUS hours: 03.30 – 01.00 (every half hour)
  • Sabiha Gökçen Airport HAVABUS hours: 04.00 – 01.00 (every half hour)
  • Taksim Gezi Park Metro Exit, total time is 1.5 hours, the ticket price is $ 2.5.

  • Yenikapı – Atatürk Airport HAVABUS hours: 09.05 – 19.45, at certain hours regulated according to the ferry times
  • Yenikapı İDO Pier In Front of 1st Pier, the ticket price is $ 1
  • Taksim and Atatürk Airport HAVABUS hours: 04.00-01.00 (every half hour)
  • Taksim Gezi Park Metro Exit, total time is 40 minutes, the ticket price is $ 2

Public buses to Sabiha Gökçen Airport:

  • E3 – 4.Levent
  • E9 – Bostanci
  • E10 – Kadıköy – Kurtköy
  • E11 – Kadıköy
  • 130H – Deniz Harp Okulu
  • 132H – Pendik
  • 122H – 4.Levent – Yenişehir

Istanbul Public Transport Fee Tariff: (effective from 1 July 2017)

Istanbulkart and electronic tickets are valid for public transport in Istanbul (except for minibusses).

The current price applied in Rail Systems:

  • FULL: $ 0.4
  • STUDENT: $ 0.2
  • SOCIAL: $ 0.3

Current Istanbul Metrobus Fee Tariffs as of July 1, 2017

  • 1 – 3 Stop: Full; 0.32, Student; 0,15, Social; 0.25 ($)
  • 4 – 9 Stop: Full; 0.5, Student; 0,20, Social; 0.30 ($)
  • 10 – 15 Stop: Full; 0.55, Student; 0,20, Social; 0.31 ($)
  • 16 – 21 Stop: Full; 0.57, Student; 0,20, Social; 0.33 ($)
  • 22 – 27 Stop: Full; 0.59, Student; 0,20, Social; 0.33 ($)
  • 28 – 33 Stop: Full; 0.6, Student; 0,20, Social; 0.35 ($)
  • 34+ Stops: Full; 0.62, Student; 0,20, Social; 0.35 ($)

*Between 00.00 and 06:00, the number of stops you travel with the Metrobus is not taken into account and the tariff for 40 and more stops is valid.

*Passengers traveling on the Metrobus line must scan their Istanbul Cards to the station exit machines in order to get back the difference in fees according to the number of stops.

*2-hour transfer time is in progress for those who will travel with the transfer ticket types. In this case, between the first vehicle and the second, there must be at least 10 minutes.

Istanbul City Lines

With 600 voyages a day, two steamer lines connect the city with 40 million passengers per year. There are 17 lines, 50 quays, 28 ships and 950 personnel working on these lines. The sea lines, whose roots are based on 1851, are now being used both for daily transportation and for touristic purposes.

Lines in Istanbul:


Istanbul Islands Lines:


Istanbul Night Transport Guide

IETT offers the opportunity to make night trips to Istanbul residents with its services to the central points of Istanbul. In order to ensure that the citizens travel in a peaceful and comfortable environment, 116 vehicles from Istanbul’s central points serve with 358 services.

In order for Istanbul residents to reach their homes in a peaceful and safe way, 116 vehicles operate between 12 am and 6 am. Sultanbeyli-Uskudar (11US), Beykoz-Kadikoy (15F), Sariyer-Hacimosman-Mecidiyekoy-Taksim (25G), Taksim-Ataturk Airport (TH-1), Kadikoy-Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SG-1), Taksim-Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SG-2), Tuzla-Kadıköy (130A), Sabiha Gökçen Airport- Kurtköy-Kadıköy (E-10), Sabiha Gökçen Airport 4.Levent Metro (E-3), Rumeli Feneri / Garipçe-Taksim (40), buses and Beylikdüzü – Söğütlüçeşme Metrobus services, including a total of 11 night lines are organized.

  • Pay Attention to the Route of the Two Buses!

Beykoz-Kadikoy line with the 15 F number offers easy access to Üsküdar which is different from its day route, and 11 ÜS stop by at Ümraniye to provide a smooth trip. Rumeli Lighthouse / Garipçe-Taksim (40) and Sarıyer-Hacıosman-Mecidiyeköy-Taksim (25G) busses only work at night.

  • 5 Express Line

Sabiha Gökçen Airport-Kadıköy (E-10) and Sabiha Gökçen Airport-4. Levent Metro (E-3) Taksim-Atatürk Airport (TH-1-Express line-DHE), Kadıköy-Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SG-1-Express line-DHE) and Taksim- Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SG-2-Express line) – DHE), serves as express service.

  • Traveling Is Easier With MOBiETT

The Mobiett app, developed by IETT, informs the passengers with the information that when buses come to a particular stop. Users who upload the Mobiett Smart Stop application to their smartphones can see the real-time stops on the map and the estimated time of arrival of all the bus lines passing through these stops and the location of the buses on the map when they share their location information.

At the end of the search process, the route of the selected line is displayed on the map, information can be accessed quickly to facilitate public transportation such as stop information, line timetable, and when to get off. In addition, disabled passengers can ask how many minutes left for the bus coming to the nearest stop via adress.

This application, which serves in 13 languages, also benefits foreign tourists.

Public transportation vehicles in Istanbul at night are:












Istanbul Districts Where Transportation Is the Easiest

In a metropolitan area like Istanbul, the most important thing to increase your quality of life is to transport easily and quickly. I have compiled the easiest accessible districts of Istanbul. The most important detail I have noted in writing these suggestions that I have listed the districts with different transportation options. You can choose between several different means of transport to go to any district of Istanbul. If I give an example, it will be better understood.

If you are planning to stay in Sancaktepe, the public transportation options you will use to go anywhere else are minibusses and buses. In my opinion, these options are not very good in terms of transportation. However, do not think that the majority of Istanbul only has these two transportation options. For example, in the Çekmeköy, neighboring district of Sancaktepe, there is a metro construction even if it is not available currently. This is a significant difference in my opinion. But since this option is not yet available in Sancaktepe, and if your work is a little urgent, minibusses are really a great convenience.

Easy transportation does not mean light traffic. Not necessarily. It is now possible to spend hours in traffic in almost every part of Istanbul, unfortunately. For this reason, I have put forward different transportation opportunities for you.

  • Kadikoy

In addition to Sogutlucesme Metrobus stop, there are also many steamer voyages to many stops at the European Side. A 10-15 minute steamer voyage leads to many quays on the European side. Kadikoy, where you can easily go to the neighborhood districts by the means you want, makes the time spent in this neighborhood more enjoyable. One of the most important meeting points is the Statue of the Bull.

  • Şişli

Şişli is one of the most important centers in the center of the European Side and if you want to stay in a house where the surrounding neighborhoods are easy to reach, it is very suitable in terms of transportation. With various shopping centers, you can easily take advantage of many transportation means while purchasing your needs. With its districts such as Kurtuluş, Feriköy, and Nişantaşı, Şişli is among the most popular neighborhoods of Istanbul.

  • Üsküdar

Üsküdar, the pupil of the Anatolian Side with its frequent boat trips to the Marmaray stop and the European Side, continues to increase its popularity by its unique view of the Bosphorus as well as the tea gardens and the romantic Maiden’s Tower.

  • Beşiktaş

As for Üsküdar, which attracts attention with its ease of transportation on the Anatolian side, Beşiktaş district on the European side is one of the most popular districts in Istanbul. The most important factor in this neighborhood is that you can cross the sea at any time. The proximity to Taksim and the Galata Tower makes this area a bit more touristy. The breakfast rooms, which are constantly busy every day of the week, are very close to the center of the district.

  • Bostancı

Bostancı allows you to travel to any district of Istanbul in any way you wish, with its yellow minibusses, sea buses, island ferries, and metro lines that allow you to travel across continents. The long coastline and quiet cafes on the beach are the biggest companions of your peaceful times. With the Bostancı Show Center, there is no possibility of experiencing a lack of cultural activity.

  • Mecidiyeköy

With the metro, Metrobus and bus lines, you can easily reach your desired location and this neighborhood has the capacity to respond to your needs with popular shopping centers. From Mecidiyeköy, located on the European side, you can reach to Tuzla and Beylikduzu by a single ride.

IETT – Touristic Lines

IETT – Touristic Lines provide bus transportation in Istanbul since 1871. In Istanbul, there are 2 bus stops and 2 bus lines of IETT – Touristic Lines. These lines serve tourists and their path is located on the most important historic areas in Istanbul.

The longest line of IETT – Touristic Lines is TB2. This bus line (Sultanahmet, Fatih) starts from Sultanahmet / Eminonu stop and ends at the same stop. It covers an area of 24 km and has 20 stops.

The shortest line is TB1. This bus line (Eminönü, Fatih) starts from Eminönü Quay station and ends at the same stop (Eminönü, Fatih). It covers an area of 21 km with 16 stops.

  • The headquarters of IETT – Touristic Lines is in Istanbul.
  • Company Owner: Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
  • Website:
  • Wikipedia Page: – Tourist Lines

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I love Istanbul. I have been to 10 different countries. Istanbul is in the top 3 cities. I like to play soccer too :)

Recent Posts