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Tim Choi writes in about transit in Istanbul, part II

The ferry Tim rode from Besiktas on the European side of the city to Kadikoy on the Asian side.

Reader Tim Choi is in Istanbul for a few months and has sent back a few observations about the transit system! Here’s his second dispatch about Istanbul’s ferries — you can also read his first dispatch about buses and minibuses.

A ferry terminal building in Istanbul. Photo by Tim Choi.

Hello Jhen! Here is a post on Istanbul’s ferries, with video.

The first three videos are as we took a ferry from Besiktas on the European side of the city to Kadikoy on the Asian side. The ferry in question is shown above – very classy and beautiful, also quite old, with real wooden decking. It is capable of carrying 1500 passengers. For our particular trip, it took 20 minutes. All ferry trips cost 1.50 Turkish Liras, around $1.10 CAD. It’s a very cheap way to enjoy and watch the city. Servers are on board all vessels, selling tea and coffee.

The terminal buildings are also quite interesting – the picture at right was taken inside one, looking towards the doors and water. Embarking procedures are a little less chaotic than for buses, but just barely – the ship pulls up to the dock, the ramps are connected, passengers disembark (either through or beside the ramps!), terminal doors open, and passengers race across the apron towards the ramps. You can see visually the dock layout in the videos.

This first video is perhaps the most gape-worthy one. My friends and I are on the ferry, still tied up to the dock. We are sitting on the stern open area. Suddenly, another ferry (operated by a different company) races across our stern with a clearance of just a few metres to dock bow-first, reversing its engines just in time to not crumple its rubber tire-covered bow. As you might imagine, this kind of ferry embarks and disembarks passengers via a narrow ramp at the bow, as opposed to via the sides like the older ferry we’re on.

This second video is of us pulling away from the dock. Nothing too exciting, though it does show you what the apron and dock look like.

The third video is of us approaching Kadikoy on the Asian side of the city. Note how we over shoot the dock and then reverse and sideslip onto the dock. Again notice the rather basic ship-shore interface. No fancy glass doors and pneumatic ramps here!

This last video is of us on one of those bow-loading ferries, racing up along the Golden Horn…and under a bridge with less than a foot of clearance! Very exhilarating, that’s for sure.

Another Istanbul transit vehicle. Photo by Tim Choi.

As an added bonus, the last photo is of a different type of vehicle used on the Metrobus (bus rapid transit) lanes. Sorry for the crummy quality – it was taken on my phone while in a shuttle bus.

That’s all for now!

Cheers,
Tim

Thanks Tim!


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