Historic tram on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue back in operation

Historic tram on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue back in operation

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Historic tram on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue back in operation

The historic tram connecting Istanbul’s Tünel Square and Taksim Square was reopened on Dec. 30 after a year of renovations on İstiklal Avenue.

Rides on the tram will be free for one week, after which a ride will cost 2.6 Turkish Liras for a full fare and 1.25 liras for a discounted fare. The line, which spans the length of İstiklal Avenue, is 1.64 kilometers.

The reopening ceremony on Dec. 30 was attended by Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin Istanbul Mayor Mevlüt Uysal, and Beyoğlu District Mayor Misbah Demircan. Speaking at the ceremony, Uysal said the renewal of İstiklal Avenue – which has caused consternation on the historic thoroughfare for over a year – mean it will “hopefully” not have any problems in terms infrastructure for the next 20 to 30 years.

“Our shopkeeper friends here have had problems [due to the renovations]. But hopefully no problem will be experienced for the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.

“[Renewal of] Taksim Square started in 2015 and it is now almost over … The Atatürk Culture Center will also meet its new building, as the former building will be soon demolished,” Uysal added.

 Şahin also spoke at the ceremony, praising the thoroughness of the renewal work.

 "Perhaps our citizens and shopkeepers experienced troubles. But hopefully [thanks to the renovations] this will be worth the inconvenience they have gone through,” he said.

Following the ceremony, Şahin and Uysal got into the historic tram at the Tünel Square for a trip up İstiklal Avenue to Taksim Square.

The historic tram is the only vehicle permitted on İstiklal Avenue during regular hours besides official (police, state and municipal) vehicles.

The nostalgic tram operates with three mortises and two wagons, making 14,600 trips per year amounting to 23,944 kilometers. The tram carries an average of 6,000 passengers per day and has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Istanbul.