A dramatic hike in bus fares began this week in Istanbul, drawing the ire of commuters in the city of more than 15.5 million people.
The 35% increase in fares is the highest in recent memory and applies to every link in the city's mass transit network, from its metrobuses to underground metro lines, privately-owned public buses and more. Under new regulations put in place by the municipality, the regular fare rose to TL 3.5 from TL 2.6. For students, it rose to TL 1.75, up from TL 1.25.
"It was unexpected. This is not what we were told," Fatih Sarı, a commuter, said, referring to Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu's election pledge to reduce bus fares. "This is a big rise," Sarı said. Another commuter who did not give his name said he worked on minimum wage, and half of his pay packet went toward public transport. Mutlu Tunç, another commuter who says he supported İmamoğlu, also complained about the hike. "This is too much. It is wrong to raise fares, especially in winter when people already pay too much on gas bills. I hope he will correct this mistake," he said.
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