IETT or Blue Bus vs Red Bus

I used to live in Belgium up till 2004, I moved here in december of that year and was extremely excited.
In Brussels, we have a grand bus/tram/metro company called the STIB. The buses would always be on time, with friendly drivers and clean seats to sit on. The STIB impose a speed limit which facilitates life for everyone in the bus and in traffic.
In Turkey tho, things are a bit different..
There are two types of buses managed by the IETT, the red ones and the blue ones. Thats how I differentiate them and how I refer to them. The only difference I know and care to know between the two types is that in the blue ones you can pay your bus fair cash and use the automated ‘akbil’ system (prepaid access) and that in the blue ones you can only use akbil and bus tickets that you would’ve prepurchased.
Oh yeah, and the blue ones are much cleaner and less smelly.
Now, I know all that sounds pretty normal, apart from one little detail which I was reminded of this morning at 7am whilst coming to work; if you wanna take the bus in Istanbul, you better have a life insurance and good stomach.
The red bus is always trying to pass the blue bus that’s trying to get all the customers.
Schumacher would look pale in comparison to how these buses drive. I could count the hairs in my neighbour’s nose each time there was a sudden turn or a sharp stop.
To get from one point to another in Istanbul, the best way is the bus, but make sure you don’t have a sensitive stomach.

4 Comments so far

  1. Alex (unregistered) on January 18th, 2006 @ 2:02 pm

    Hah – that was very well written, I laughed even harder the second time I read it. I’ve been in Istanbul for 10 days and have yet to ride a bus, but I think I’ll start with the blue ones…

  2. qaminante (unregistered) on February 1st, 2006 @ 10:05 pm

    I presume everything is relative – I use STIB every day and certainly not all the drivers are friendly, nor do you always get a seat, especially now that the bus I use the most (the 27) is usually a new design with only 12 seats!
    But, I will make sure to use blue buses if I get to visit Istanbul again.

  3. xpreza (unregistered) on February 3rd, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    FYI: The blue ones (used to be green) belong to Istanbul Municapility, and the red ones (also comes in different colors -coloring scheme is confusing, even for locals) are run by private companies, personals in fact. One would think that government operated buses / services would be worse however this is not the case in public transport. 500 brand new Mercedes buses just added to the fleet (blue ones of course), and probably in 10 years you will see tham as the green ones…

  4. cemre (unregistered) on February 14th, 2006 @ 3:39 pm


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