Passengers to use single card for intra-city transport across Turkey: Minister
Hacer Boyacıoğlu – ANKARA
Passengers will be able to use a single card for intra-city transport across Turkey, Transportation, Maritime and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan said on Dec. 13, as he commented on planned transportation projects.
The “Turkey Card” can be obtained from Turkey’s national post office (PTT) and those who own it will have the advantage of using intra-city transportation in all 81 provinces of the country with a single card.
“With the ‘Turkey Card’ you will be able to do the same things you are able to do with a credit card. In addition, we are making agreements with all municipalities, with Istanbul being priority. It will be able to be used on all public transportation vehicles, from buses to metros,” Arslan told daily Hürriyet, adding that the card would be available at over 4,600 PTT stops starting in 2018.
“You will no longer need to obtain separate cards when traveling to different provinces,” he also said, referring to the current transportation card practice.
There are currently different types of cards for each province and a passenger needs to obtain the card designed for their city in order to use public transportation.
Arslan also said the card would be valid at national parks, museum and planes, adding that the ministry aims to make sure all financial operations can be carried out with a single card.
“There are very few examples of this in the world. We can also export this to many countries,” Arslan added.
Turning to the subject of guarantees on newly-constructed bridges and tunnels, Arslan said 68,000 daily trips were given as a guarantee for the Eurasia Tunnel, an underwater tunnel constructed to considerably shorten the duration of travel for vehicles from Istanbul’s Asian side to the European side.
Saying the initial number of trips was 20,000 when the tunnel was opened last year, Arslan noted there were days the number reached 65,000 during the summer season.
While revealing the annual average of trips as 41,000, Arslan added that the number is expected to increase.
“The average for the recent period is 48,000. This means it will continue to increase and we will be able to exceed the number guaranteed in one or two years,” he also said.
The daily number of trips guaranteed for Osman Gazi Bridge, which also opened to traffic last year, was previously revealed as 40,000. Arslan said the highway between the northwestern province of Bursa and the western province of İzmir needs to be opened in order to reach the desired number.
Saying the initial number of trips was between 12,000 and 13,000, Arslan noted the number is currently around 20,000, while adding that the ministry aims to finish the construction of the highway at the end of 2018 or in the first half of 2019.
“When the distance between Istanbul and İzmir is lowered to three hours, additional traffic will form. There are many new investments being made in that area. Investments will increase trade and trade will increase traffic. We will reach the guaranteed number in the upcoming couple of years, however, we need to be patient for a few years,” he added.
The minister also commented on the plans for Kanal Istanbul, the giant waterway project that will bypass ship traffic in the Bosphorus.
The plan revealed last week, which detailed the route of the $15.6 billion project, was one of five existing alternatives and tenders would be held for each of them, he said.
“Part of the project is a five-kilometer-wide corridor. The ground is not suitable in several spots and some areas are protected sites, so in those cases, the corridor will provide flexibility. We have nearly finalized the financial model,” Arslan added.