30 December Saturday

Historic Tram Lane reopened in Istanbul…

After a year of renovations and infrastructure works in Istanbul's famous Istiklal Street, the historic tram, one of the symbols of Istanbul connecting Istanbul’s Tünel Square and Taksim Square was reopened today.

Mr. Vasip Şahin, the Governor of Istanbul; Mevlüt Uysal, the Mayor of Istanbul; Mr. Misbah Demircan, the Mayor of Beyoğlu District and as well as many people right around city attended the reopening ceremony held on Dec. 30th, 2017.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) had launched the work in December 2016, due to aging infrastructure of the area topped with flash floods in heavy rains, and unaesthetic ground covering that was switched back to plain asphalt due to broken or removed granite pavement consisted of large blocks.

Fares on the tram will be free for one week, after which a ride will cost 2.6 TL for a full fare and 1.25 liras for a discounted fare. The line, which spans the length of İstiklal Avenue, is 1.64 kilometers.

Speaking at the ceremony opening ceremony, Istanbul Mayor Uysal said the renewal of İstiklal Street – which has caused consternation on the historic thoroughfare for over a year – mean it will “hopefully” not have any problems in terms infrastructure for the next 20 to 30 years.

“Our shopkeeper friends here have had problems [due to the renovations]. But hopefully no problem will be experienced for the next 20 to 30 years,” he said.

“Restoration work of Taksim Square started in 2015 and it is now almost over The Atatürk Culture Center will also meet its new building, as the former building will be soon demolished,” Uysal added.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Şahin also spoke at the ceremony, praising the thoroughness of the renewal work.

 "Perhaps our citizens and shopkeepers experienced troubles. But hopefully thanks to the renovations this will be worth the inconvenience they have gone through,” he said.

Following the ceremony, Şahin and Uysal got into the historic tram at the Tünel Square for a trip up İstiklal Avenue to Taksim Square.

The historic tram is the only vehicle permitted on İstiklal Street during regular hours besides official vehicles including police, state and municipal.

The nostalgic tram operates with three mortises and two wagons, making 14,600 trips per year amounting to 23,944 kilometers. The tram carries an average of 6,000 passengers per day and has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Istanbul.

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