The Tram and MetroWhen traveling by tram or metro all you have to do is buy a token from the Jetonmatik machines. The token you get is a red plastic coin (as seen in the first picture). You then put this coin into the turnstile and are able to board the tram or metro. The coin allows you access to one tram line/ metro line as far as you want to go. If you go ten stops – one token, if you go one stop – one token. If you switch lines or switch from metro to tram it is an addition token. Basically one token per line each way. For example when we left the airport we took one metro line (one token) to the tram line that led to our hotel (an additional token) for a total of two tokens.
A token costs 3 Tukish Lire which is the equivalent of $1.34 USD. Not a bad deal huh? Much cheaper than taking taxis everywhere (and you avoid the potential for taxi scams)! We did our research before going anywhere to make sure we knew where we were going and what lines to look for. In case you are interested our hotel was on the T1 line which led directly to all the major tourist sites and we never had to switch lines when going to the Old Town. Also this line ran every 5 minutes – yeah, 5 minutes! So we never had to wait long.
Again, to take the ferry boat you had to buy a token to place into the turnstile. We did the public ferry. You can do the more touristy ferries but they cost a lot more. You can also take boats the cruise all along the Bosphorus. We just wanted to travel on the water and get to the Asian side so this suited us perfect.
Outside the dock for the boat there is a Jetonmatik machine again but it is for boats. This token is metal (you can see it in the first picture). Again only 3TL meaning it only cost us $1.34 to travel each way from the European to the Anatolian side of Istanbul! Only $3 USD total! Everyone was helpful to us. For the boats we didn’t know about the tokens but when we got there someone was nice enough to show us what we needed to do. We always try to use public transit when we can – it seems scary but remember that people use public transit everyday and when traveling it can save you some serious cash!
So thank you Istanbul for an easy to use public transit system!