Sunday, May 15, 2011

Transit Pass Collection: Istanbul

When I touch down in a place, nine times out of ten I'm going to be getting on some form of public transit to get where I need to go. I rarely rent cars and love taking the train or bus perhaps more than most, which also means that I end up with a lot of transit passes over my travels. Today I want to share with you one of the most unique I've seen thus far: The Istanbul AKBIL.

The AKBIL, which is a shortening of "Intelligent Ticket" in Turkish is a keychain pass which functions as either an e-purse (stored value) or time limited pass. It's pretty comfortable to hold, and gives you a substantial discount on transit trips in the Istanbul network. Most notably, when you use this you can transfer between services, while normally you pay every time you step onto a vehicle. It also works on rail, bus, and boat.

The ticket itself is used by pressing the metal button into the green socket below. Your balance shows up on the screen and it allows you to pass through. Simple system, but getting the akbil  requires a little effort, as they're only sold at specific offices and require a couple dollars for a deposit. However, if you're looking for one of these the next time you head to Turkey you might not be able to find them at all: They're being phased out in favor of RFID cards link you find in most other mass transit systems. I'm headed to Turkey at the end of the month, I'll post pictures of the NEW card soon.

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