Nighttime public transport returns to Ankara after brief testing in 2014


24-hour public transport is being re-initiated in Turkey's capital Ankara three years after it was abruptly canceled after a brief testing period.

Ankara Metropolitan Mayor Mustafa Tuna announced Wednesday that 35 bus lines that cross through nine of the city's districts will start providing night services as of Friday.

The 35 lines will operate in their regular schedules until 02:00 a.m., and they will continue to serve on the hour until 06:00 a.m. The bus services will be given on regular fare.

Tuna said that metro services will also be extended until 01:00 a.m., saying that the tests run by the Ministry of Transport in metro lines prevents further extension as of now.

Tuna said that the new practice will respond to the people's demands, since it will appeal to 90 percent of the city's population living in areas that will be provided night service.

"Our aim is to create a city that is live 24 hours, alive and dynamic," Tuna said, adding that the municipality will be subsidizing operation costs of 280 trips per night.

The lack of nighttime public transport was among the biggest criticism of municipal services in Ankara, which is home to 6 million people.

Former Mayor Melih Gökçek, who ran Ankara for 23 years after resigning from duty on Oct. 28, introduced a similar practice in May 2014 on 31 lines. However, the services were canceled after 22 days as Gökçek had said that the average passenger number per bus was 3.76.

The municipality also said that there are 358 trips on 11 lines in Istanbul and 36 trips on six lines in Izmir.

In addition to buses, Istanbul's Metrobus system serves on a 24-hour basis, whereas privately-run minibuses and collective taxis (dolmuş) serve in main lines, without a fixed schedule.

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