What professionals and travellers say?

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Jeff Hawken

The stated “cost” of running any given passenger service is very susceptible to political interference. That is a general comment, not one specifically aimed at Turkey. So if the aim is to make the infrastructure company “profitable”, then the track access charges will increase, causing fares increases, and making the train operations unprofitable. Conversely, if the imperative is to maintain the level of fares, then the infrastructure company will become unprofitable. The only thing I am certain about is that the existing bloated TCDD Tasimacilik train operation will need to shed vast numbers of its staff in order to become profitable, or to be able to compete with private operators. That could become very unpopular indeed.

Steve Hobson

What has been achieved with the IZBAN system is impressive, but the system is plagued by a problem common to many urban systems: long journeys (Aliağı to Alsancak, for example) are tedious with the many stops. This reminds me of what it is like travelling from Heathrow Airport to central London on the Piccadilly Line. There needs to be consideration for the provision of express/limited stop services and this will certainly be necessary to encourage tourists to use the IZBAN for places such as Selçuk and Bergama. The IZBAN is also a way to access Foca (combined with ESHOT bus services) but would be more attractive with an express service.

Tom Gray

I could see one reason why tourists would not use the Bosphors Express and that is the time spent crossing, entering and departing borders as well as when this takes place, in the early hours of the morning. Perhaps a daylight train leaving from the old station in Istanbul would be an incentive for tourists rather than travelling 25 Km to start the journey.