Istanbul to get much-needed metro network: Mayor

Istanbul to get much-needed metro network: Mayor

Istanbul to get much-needed metro network: Mayor

Mayor Kadir Topbaş unveiled the ambitious metro plans for Istanbul on Sept.27. AA photo

Istanbul’s much-neglected metro network will finally expand to reach the level of those in global cities by 2019, the ambitious metro plans unveiled by Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş show.

“Eleven million people will be able to use the metro lines by 2019 ... At that time, Istanbul will be a city for all the world to envy,” Topbaş said at press meeting Sept. 27.

His statements were echoed in a metropolitan municipality advertisements placed in a number of national newspapers.

“Why did we put ads in newspapers? We wanted Istanbul residents to save newspaper clips, to see that all of it will come true, and to arrange their future according to this. These are not dreams, they are projects,” Topbaş said.

The mayor, who appears to have secured his nomination for a third term as the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul candidate at the March 2014 local elections, also vowed to bring down levels of private car usage by 2019.

To this end, Istanbul’s current 141-kilometer underground network will be increased to 400 kilometers in 2019, Topbaş said.

The advertisement published today showed three maps: one showing Istanbul’s metro network prior to Topbaş coming to the chair in 2004, another showing the current network, and another one showing the planned lines for 2019. It also noted that the municipality has invested 100 million Turkish Liras in the metro up to now.

According to municipal plans, the number of passengers regularly using the metro will have reached 7 million in 2016.

Despite being home to the world’s second oldest metro line - the underground tunnel operating between Karaköy and Taksim – the policies of the city’s authorities favoring land roads and the public bus network have led Istanbul to become known as a city of chronic traffic congestion.

Traffic repeatedly ranks as one of the biggest problems experienced by the estimated 14 million living in Turkey’s largest metropolis.