World Bulletin / News Desk
The İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality began to implement a bus lane in certain areas of the city on Monday, with a massive endeavor by traffic police to counter widespread violations of the new rules.
The lane, only for the use of public transport vehicles, has been put into effect to improve and increase public transportation on the routes of Aksaray-Millet Street-Topkapı and between the Şirinevler and Mahmutbey neighborhoods as pilot areas.
Once the lane has been successfully implemented in those areas, the municipality plans to add new routes to the project, such as Topkapı-Aksaray-Taksim, Kızıltoprak-Bostancı-Tuzla, Beşiktaş-Maslak and Yenikapı-Başakşehir.
According to a statement released by the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality, the bus lane project, which is being implemented in many developed countries, helps people save time and money. “The project will be launched in many parts of the city if it is used by the majority of the people,” the statement added.
On the first day of the implementation, traffic police gave warnings to many drivers who made improper lane changes and who insisted on driving in lanes reserved for the use of buses and minibuses. Many vehicles parked improperly in lanes in which buses and minibuses were supposed to drive were towed and transferred to city parking lots. Drivers who violate the bus lane rules will be identified with the help of an electric control system and fined.
Only İstanbul Transportation Authority (İETT) public buses, minibuses and taxis can use the bus lane between the hours of 7-10 a.m. and 4-8 p.m., when traffic is very congested. There are estimated to be more than 17,000 bus passengers during the bus lane hours. Moreover, according to calculations, if all car drivers switched to taking the bus on the implemented routes, they could save 650,000 liters of gas yearly in total and significantly decrease carbon dioxide emissions.
Most of the people who use public transportation are very content with this new project and say that the hardships and density during their commute cause great problems in the morning and that they hope this project will get good results.
Drivers say they are not accustomed to this new project yet. Tradespeople complain about the implementation, stating that they will have problems loading their goods, adding that the infrastructure for this implementation should have been planned better.