Ferry firm to offer free meals to customers to keep main route afloat after İzmit Bay bridge opens
Sefer Levent - ISTANBULTurkey’s leading ferry operator, Istanbul Fast Ferries (İDO), is set to start to deliver free meal and other goodies to its customers in a bid to compete against a new bridge on İzmit Bay, its busiest route in the Marmara Sea.
The last section of the mammoth İzmit Bay Bridge, a key part of the Gebze-Orhangazi-İzmir Highway Project which will dramatically shorten the travel time between Istanbul and the Aegean city of İzmir, was put into place in an official ceremony on April 21. The bridge is expected to open in two weeks in an official ceremony.
After the opening, vehicles will be able to pass over İzmit Bay in four minutes.
In a bid to keep its ferries over this route between the Eskihisar port in the province of Kocaeli and the Topçular port in the province of Yalova, İDO has created a number of plans, said company executives.
Noting that passengers using this route on the way from Istanbul to İzmir always break to eat something, Hamdi Akın, the chair of İDO partner Akfen Holding, said: “We have accelerated our plans to attract these passengers to our ferries in the light of this fact. We will start to offer free meal services on our ferries to passengers of trucks, buses and cars who will use the İDO ferries as of June 30. We also plan to create playfields for children on our ferries in a bid to offer entertaining opportunities to our passengers during the 30-minute trip,” added Akın.
He said İDO ferries would also have a cost advantage in the new era, signaling a further discount in prices.
Cars currently pay 60 Turkish Liras for one passage on a İDO ferry or 50 liras for a round trip. According to earlier reports, cars will be charged 90 liras to cross the new İzmit Bay Bridge.