This is not a story about an old TV sitcom but rather an encouragement to Fethiye Times readers to get out and about on the buses. 

This is not a story about an old TV sitcom but rather an encouragement to Fethiye Times readers to get out and about on the buses.  It occurs to us that many of our readers actually living here in Turkey either drive everywhere (with those horrendous fuel prices) or don’t actually venture beyond the immediate area.  Now’s your chance to go for a day out by bus secure in the knowledge that you are up to speed with Turkish bus etiquette.

We are not talking about the long-distance monster buses, nor the dolmuses, but the 27 or so seater small buses that ply up and down the coast at amazingly regular intervals – making a day out a cheap and easy possibility.  It takes 3 hours from Fethiye to Marmaris by bus, costs 12YTL one way and there is a bus every half hour (on the hour; then on the half hour) from 6.30am until 10.30pm.  Sometimes the times change so check the board at the bus station to be sure your return bus is leaving when you want it to.  If 3 hours is too much, why not go to Kalkan (one and a half hours) or continue for another 45 minutes or so to Kas (that costs all of 9YTL).

Obviously you can go to the bus station and buy a ticket and then get on your bus.  However, if you live along the bus route why bother?  Behave like a Turk – stand on the roadside and flag down the bus you want as it approaches, and then get them to drop you off near home on your way back.  If you do get on the bus on the roadside, don’t bother trying to pay the driver as you would on a dolmus – he, or his conductor if he has one, will come and collect your fare later.

The buses stop at least once every forty-five minutes, calling in to bus stations (oto gar) en route to drop off/collect more passengers.  These stops are only for a few minutes, fine for nipping to the loo. A scheduled break in the journey of ten minutes or more (for tea/food) is happening when the driver stands up and announces it after stopping.  At quick stops he doesn’t leave his seat.

There is water on the bus for passengers to drink and, if there isn’t a conductor who will come round and serve you, you help yourself from the fridge near the back door – plastic cups will be on the parcel shelf immediately above the fridge.

When you arrive at your destination, if the bus station is outside the town, there will be a free ‘servis’ minibus to take you downtown – this applies in Marmaris where the servis (a bright orange minibus) will drop you anywhere along the main street that runs parallel to the beach.  If you have to catch a dolmus back to the bus station at the end of the day, that only costs 1.25YTL in Marmaris – so will hardly break the bank.

So why not try it?  You’ll be amazed at the people who get on and off the buses; watch the lovely landscape go by between stops; and drink cheap tea in every oto gar.  And if you do go for a day out by bus, be sure to e-mail us on your return with the full story.