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'Free travel' in Istanbul to promote travelling by bike

The municipal authority in Istanbul offers free public transportation to promote the use of bicycles across the city

News Service Yeni Şafak
Cyclists travelling on buses with bicycle racks on the front will not be charged during the day as part of a project that aims to encourage the use of bicycles across the city, according to a statement by the city's transport authority, or IETT.

Passengers taking their bikes on board other public transport will not pay for tickets between 9 am and 4 pm, 10 pm to 7 am and between 10 pm and 7 am daily, IETT said on its official site.

The Istanbul municipality has embarked on the program of outfitting buses with bicycle racks on the front to support joint efforts, exerted by IETT and the Cyclists' Transport Platform.

Mümin Kahveci, the General Director of IETT, said that they have aimed to ease traffic congestion in rush hours. “We believe that people taking their bikes will abide the rules when they travel on public transport," he said, adding that they are pleased with the rise in the number of cyclists riding in the city.

Much more needed for Istanbul to become a 'bike-friendly' city

But most of cyclists think that the biggest obstacle they face is the limited area they can ride on in Istanbul.

“Much more space must be provided to help us integrate into the public-transportation area," a young cyclist said.

“The attitude of drivers is another thing that makes our integration difficult," he said, calling expansion for seaside routes, which the cyclists need to share with pedestrians.

An elder man, who was walking along the seaside for leisure with his grandson, said most people believe a bike is just a toy, but it actually isn't. “That's why they are not used to seeing people riding bicycles among the cars on the roads," he said.

The hours that passengers can travel with their bikes for free slightly vary according to types of transport. On metro buses bike riders will not be charged between 10 am and 4 pm and between 10 pm and 6 am, according to IETT's statement. On the subway, they are not supposed to pay for a ticket while travelling between 6 am and 7 am, 9 am and 4 pm and between 8 pm and midnight.

Bikers can ride for free with their bikes on public ferry lines between 6 am and midnight, and on high speed ferries between 7 am and 9 pm and long distance ferries and car transport ferries between 7 am and 11:30 pm.




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