Istanbul has a new subway line. It was opened today after undergoing construction for seven years. It runs from Kadıköy, a large, populous, and cosmopolitan district of Istanbul, on the Asian side of the Sea of Marmara, to Kartal along the M4 motorway. It is a great addition to the growing public transport system in Istanbul.
The line marks “the biggest subway investment of the Turkish Republic”, according to the municipality. The journey time from Kadıköy to Kartal is 32 minutes, according to officials.
Citizens of Istanbul were curious and are expected to use the new line en mass during the Şeker Bayram holiday (at the end of Ramadan), in the weekend of August 19-20-21. It was already very crowded just after the opening. In the first three days transport will be free!
The underground stations have beautiful decorations. Some made of Iznik tiles and others are mosaics; a great tradition in this that started during the Roman and Byzantine empires. The construction of the subway also led to the beautification above ground. In Kadıköy the municipality created a new beautiful park with lots of flowers. Great!
The subway line is the first line on the Asian side of Istanbul. Test runs have been going on for the past months, and the line is now reportedly ready to operate.
The Kartal- Kadıköy M4 line is 21.6 km long and is the longest in Istanbul.
The line will be capable of carrying 700,000 passengers every day and will have 16 stops in total.
The metro line is built to resist an earthquake with a magnitude of up to 9.0 on the Richter scale.
The most recent earthquake close to Istanbul was the 1999 Izmit earthquake (also known as the Kocaeli or Gölcük earthquake). It was a 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck northwestern Turkey on August 17, 1999. Around 17,000 people were killed officials say, but non-official sources consider the casualties 35,000 people.
The great news is that an additional line is planned to connect the Kartal-Kadıköy line to Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbaş said his administration’s target was to transport 7 million passengers every day in 2016 by building 230 kilometers worth of railway system. The project budget for the new metro line on the Asian side was originally 1.6 billion dollars, but a line of an additional three kilometers will be built to the Kaynarca district and the railway will become 24.5 kilometers.
The mayor also pointed out that the Marmaray project and all metro lines will be integrated in 2013. “Two continents will come together in 2013 with the metro. Our aim is to transport 5 million people every day with 230 kilometers railway and 7 million in 2016. The biggest reward for me will be seeing residents using fast and comfy transportation,” he said.
Full integration of Istanbul’s mass transportation system will allow a passenger traveling from the Atatürk Airport on the European side of the city to reach the Kartal district on the Anatolian side in 81 minutes. According to plans set to be realized in 2013, passengers will be able to reach Taksim Square from Atatürk Airport in 43 to 45 minutes.