Although public transportation in Istanbul has improved over the past decade, those people who choose to use public transportation to get around the city are presented with a number of challenges.
The traffic in Istanbul is quite busy at all times, which makes navigating the city difficult from the get-go. The roads in Istanbul are all heavily traveled and traffic is often at a standstill for many hours in the morning and then again in the evening.
Because of the heavily traveled streets, taxis will be stuck in traffic – and Istanbul taxi drivers often take risks to get around the traffic which could put a traveler’s safety at risk. Additionally, taxi drivers often are not trained and/or certified and thusly it is a gamble any time you should decide to take a taxi. Your safety can be at risk because of a taxi driver’s driving ability or because s/he is not in fact a certified taxi driver, therefore putting their own identity into question. It is important to look for a taxi drivers displayed identification tag, if at any time you do take a taxi transfer in Istanbul.
Taking a bus throughout the city of Istanbul or anywhere else in Turkey, seems like an affordable alternative to taking a taxi or riding the Metro. Many people do take the bus because their finances do not allow any other option. It’s true that the bus system in Turkey is widely used but it is important to remember that buses will get stuck in traffic just like taxis will. Another drawback of taking a bus is that they are often crowded and the ride is typically quite bumpy and uncomfortable. Also, a bus may not get you very close to your final destination, meaning you will have to walk quite a distance at the end of your bus ride.
The Metro system in Istanbul is another public transportation option that comes with its own challenges. Once again, it does provide an affordable way to travel throughout the city. It also allows you to bypass any traffic jams. However, the Metro system is often jam-packed with travelers and commuters. Many times, on many trains, you will find that there is only standing room left for you. Whether standing or sitting, a crowded Metro bus is never a fun time and also presents dangers to travelers.
Being in such close proximity to so many other people, especially if you are standing, presents the danger of being pickpocketed. This type of crime happens in every city on every subway system, but the more crowded the city, the worse the problem becomes. Istanbul is an extremely overcrowded city that relies heavily on its Metro system. This means that your risk of being robbed is substantially higher than if you took a safer form of transportation.
The many challenges presented to travelers and Istanbul regarding the varied transportation systems can make it difficult to choose safest way to travel while still using public transportation. In fact, many visitors to Turkey have strayed away from public transportation and have started using private transfers.