Istanbul Municipality starts building new disabled-friendly ferries
Fatma Aksu ISTANBULThe Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has begun the construction of 10 disabled-friendly, high-technology ferries, which it hopes to unveil before the general elections in June.
The new generation ferries developed by local engineers aim to boost to the municipality’s public sea transportation subsidy, the City Lines Ferries, which have recently reported a huge loss due to declining passenger numbers.
The project, first announced by Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş before the March 30, 2014 local elections, is expected to debut ahead of the June 7 general elections.
Ten panoramic-view ferries that are designed for the easy use of disabled people will initially come in four different colors, with the most popular color to be selected by Istanbul residents in polls.
In addition to better accessibility for disadvantaged groups, the ferries are planned to cut around 25 percent from both fuel consumption and travel times.
The 700-capacity double-ended ships, which will be able to dock from both back and front, will be 42 meters long and 10 meters wide, and will be able to reach speeds of 12 nautical miles.
The City Lines Ferries, 90 percent of whose stakes are owned by the municipality, posted a 28 million-Turkish Lira ($11.4 million) loss in 2014, largely due to a decrease in passenger numbers after the launch of the cross-continental Marmaray train line.