Readers’ comments

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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

Why are there so few passengers on the Sofia/Bucarest-Halkali Istanbul route ? Well, I took the Bucarest Halkali sleeper last month, but only very few people know it exists. The DB or SBB online timetable show all the relations with train changes (3 train changes for the Bucarest Halkali train) but they don’t mention anything about direct carriages (…) – If they would update their website info, or if TCDD would tell them to do, then they would stand a chance to attract more travellers (apart from the rail enthusiasts, the Interrail travellers …)

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.