Time Travel with Public Transportation

Written by Akın Kurtoğlu

Istanbul’s local transportation has developed quite modestly ever since the conquest of the city in 1453 up until the 19th century. The dramatic changes began since the 1820s.

The first developments in terms of public transportation began with sea transports and the Istanbulians met steamed ferries for the first time on May 20, 1828. The exported boat Swift, which had been brought to Istanbul by Mahmud II, was named Buğu (Vapour) by the public. The use of the ferry Buğu (other name was Sür’at – Speed) was the initial sign that there would be some radical changes in local maritime transportations which transportation services in the Bosphorus at the time were being under taken with small row boats between the inner ports and the islands. The Hayriye Administration was established in 1851 with the purpose of ensuring a more orderly sea transportation service in Istanbul. The first ferry line on the shores of the Marmara Sea was established by the Treasury Administration during the year of 1852. While such changes were being implemented in the sea, there were also some ongoing transportation activities on land. In 1871, the first horse-tramway lines were set up between Azapkapı – Beşiktaş. In a short period of time, this line was extended to the Ortaköy Mosque and further extensions took place between Eminönü – Yedikule, Eminönü – Topkapı, Karaköy – Şişli, Pangaltı – Tatavla (Kurtuluş), Galatasaray – St. Antoine and Bayazid – Fatih. As a result, the European side of the city attained a
tramway network that was considered to be quite developed for the conditions of those years. The Oldest 2nd Underground Subway A company established by two French
banks under the name of Chemin de Fer Metropolitain de Galata â Pera began an underground subway construction between Karaköy and Istiklal Street Sishane that would be called the Tunnel and be 601 metres long. After four years of hardwork, the Tunnel was completed on January 18, 1875 and became the world’s second underground funicular system. During the same year, the roads of the city also met with “omnibuses” that could
be considered the current minibuses. During the second half of 1880, doublestorey horse tramways were imported from Europe and were used between Azapkapı – Ortaköy for more than 20 years. The Sirkeci Train Station was completed in 1890. Haydarpaşa, on the other hand, began its services as the second train station of
Istanbul in 1908. In 1911, an individual by the name of Tütüncü Abdusselam Efendi initiated the first taxis of Istanbul. The service, which only began with a single car, was further developed and reached a number of 18,000 taxis. Taximetres were installed in the Istanbul taxis as of January 1, 1925. As a result, the standardisation of
taxi transportations had officially began. Private companies began to manage buses between Kadiköy Port – Moda, Kadiköy – Üsküdar and Kadiköy – Fener Bahçesi in 1926. In 1930, minibuses were seen on the
roads of Istanbul. The IETT Administration formed a new fleet as of April 1943 and established a growing network of buses. This enterprise that began with 24 buses reached a number of 140 by the 1950s. The railway transportation services that were being implemented with steam trains for a long period of time changed to electrical systems in accordance with the modern needs and the very first electrical train was used on December 6, 1955 between Sirkeci Station and Halkalı.
30-İETT Arşivi
The first “train ferry” used to transport wagons via seaway was established in 1959 between Sirkeci and Haydarpaşa. As a result, the Halkalı and Gebze trains were connected via seaway. During the same
year, the three-door buses of the IETT were used to carry passengers between Taksim and Sarıyer. The Istanbulians, who were used to getting on the bus from the back doors and getting off from the front doors,
were astonished to now see a third door in the middle. The First Local Trolley Bus: Tosun After the final service of the electrical tramways on the European side in August 1961, some of the motor cars and
wagons were added to the more active routes located on the Anatolian side. The tramway system located in the Kadiköy region were completely inactivated as of November 1966. As a result, the tramways that transported the Istanbulians loyally and unceasingly for 95 years became a thing of the past. The first trolley bus services began with the line number 84 between Topkapı and Eminönü. The trolley buses were in use in the city until 1984. While in May 1966, car ferry transportations were used between Harem and Sirkeci. In a few years time, the production of local trolley buses was being discussed and the first local trolley bus, Tosun, was produced as a result of the hard work of Turkish engineers and labourers in the Şişli workshops. As of March 29, 1969 the TCDD (Turkish State Railways) began to use the steam trains between Haydarpaşa and Gebze with the new electrical system. The historical Tunnel, which had been in service with the steam system for 100 years, was modified to be used with electrical force and began its services in 1971. The construction of the Bosphorus Bridge was the new project as of the the first half of the 1970s. The Bosphorus Bridge was officially opened on October 30, 1973, while the Fatih Bridge was opened in 1988. A year later, the high-speed tramway was in service between Aksaray and Ferhatpaşa (Kartaltepe). While the nostalgic Taksim – Tunnel tramway line on Istiklal Road was implemented as of December 29, 1990, the Aksaray – Beyazit tramway line was initiated soon after.
37-İETT Arşivi
The roads of Istanbul met two buses for the first time between 1993-1994. The speedy-tramway’s airport station was completed as of December 20, 2002. As a result, the railway and airway networks of the city were interconnected for the first time ever. The road tramway of Eminönü – Fındıklı
was completed as of January 30, 2005 and after 44 years the Galata Bridge began to use its tramway lines. The second funicular system of the city was implemented as of June 29, 2006 in which the time travel between Taksim and Kabataş was dropped to 80 seconds. When the calenders showed September 17, 2007 Istanbul met a brand new transportation concept and the unique metrobus system was implemented.

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Akın Kurtoğlu

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