The Istanbul Metro, established on September 3, 1989, is not only the oldest but also the largest metro system in Turkey. While the roots of the metro date back to 1875, with the inauguration of the first underground railway line, it's essential to note that this historical line is distinct from the modern Istanbul Metro. The initial segment of the Istanbul Metro comprised five stations, seamlessly connecting Istanbul's historical Fatih district with the neighboring Bayrampasa district. Today, the Istanbul Metro boasts an expansive network encompassing 11 lines.
Operating as a highly efficient and rapid mode of public transportation in Turkey's bustling metropolis, the Istanbul Metro facilitates the daily movement of over 2 million commuters. Spanning the urban landscape, the metro lines provide comprehensive coverage, linking key locales within the city and bridging the European and Asian sectors through a sub-Bosphorus tunnel. Noteworthy destinations accessible via the metro include Istanbul's principal railway stations - Sirkeci and Haydarpasa, Istanbul Airport, and Karakoy Cruise Port. Proximity to metro stations provides easy access to Istanbul's iconic attractions, such as the Sultanahmet Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, and Basilica Cistern.
The Istanbul Metro operates under the stewardship of multiple independent transportation entities and forms an integral part of Istanbul's broader public transport ecosystem, alongside buses, metrobuses, trams, and the funicular. A single metro ticket in Istanbul is priced at 30 TRY and is valid exclusively on the line of purchase. For seamless travel across all modes of public transport, opting for the Istambulkart smart card proves both economical and convenient. With an Istambulkart, the cost of a trip reduces to 15 TRY.
Indicated by a recognizable sign featuring the letter M set against a red and blue backdrop, entrances to the Istanbul Metro are easily identifiable. Each station is thoughtfully equipped with escalators, elevators, and often, travolators. The interior ambiance of the Istanbul subway is characterized by a modern, utilitarian design approach. A streamlined aesthetic, efficient navigation systems, and tactile flooring for the visually impaired are defining features. A handful of stations, including Bakırköy and Atatürk Havalimani, as well as Tunel stations, showcase intricate Iznik ceramic panels adorned with national motifs and captivating landscapes of Istanbul.
The Istanbul Metro stations present a mix of island and coastal platforms, serving modern and older trains composed of 4-6 carriages, configured into a continuous train. The metro cars are equipped with automated doors, ensuring swift and seamless passenger ingress and egress.
The Istanbul Metro consists of 11 lines with 137 stations in operation and 56 under construction. Each line has its own number and color designation: M1A and M1B (red), M2 (green), M3 (blue), M4 (light pink), M5 (dark purple), M6 (brown), M7 (light pink ), M8 (blue), M9 (yellow), M11 (lilac). The Marmaray line connects the European and Asian parts of Istanbul. Marmaray is considered a separate line, but is connected with the Istanbul metro by some stations. The total length of the tracks is 191 km. More than 2.5 million people use the Istanbul metro, tram and funicular services every day. Opening hours: from 6:00 to 0:30.
You have the option to pay for metro rides using either electronic one-time tickets or Istanbulkart travel cards. Additionally, the Istanbulkart can offer convenient and cost-effective payment for various modes of transportation, including buses, trams, ferries, the Marmaray line, funiculars, and metrobuses.
For all types of rail transport, the ticket pricing is as follows: 30 TRY for a single trip, 50 TRY for two trips, 80 TRY for three trips, 90 TRY for five trips, and 170 TRY for ten trips. If you choose to use a rechargeable Istanbulkart card for your journeys, the cost is reduced by half to 15.00 TRY. Please note that the Istanbulkart card itself has an initial cost of 50 TRY.
It's important to mention that any transfers within the Istanbul transport network incur an additional fee, which is equivalent to the discounted fare for a single trip.
You can easily purchase travel tickets from vending machines conveniently situated at every metro station or tram stop. These machines accept coins, bills, and bank cards as forms of payment. For those interested in acquiring an Istanbulkart card, they are available for purchase not only at station vending machines but also at numerous kiosks scattered throughout the city.
To add credit to your Istanbulkart card, you can utilize the terminals found at metro stations, light rail stops, and ferry terminals. Additionally, you have the option to conveniently top up your card using the dedicated Istanbulkart Mobil mobile application. When entering a station, simply bring your card in proximity to the reader located on the turnstile for seamless access.