It’s all change on the local Fethiye bus service.
This year has seen the Muğla Metropolitan Authority increase its control over the province’s infrastructure.
For the public, the changes made to the Fethiye buses and minibus network, as part of a major overhaul to the region’s public transport, are probably the most obvious.
In addition to new vehicles with wheelchair access, the Metropolitan Authority has also introduced a prepaid card payment system and smart new uniform for the drivers.
However, they have removed the unique and quirky colour-coding that made the town’s buses so simple to use, especially for foreign visitors.
Bigger, better and cleaner emmision buses
Still providing a great service
In terms of it’s comprehensive service, the already excellent pubic transport system in Fethiye is essentially the same, although the dolmuş (minibuses) have been upgraded.
For many years the minibuses were driver-owned and part of a cooperative organisation.
The larger buses on the other hand were under the control of Fethiye Municipality.
However, for the past two months all the buses – large and small – have been under the control of the Muğla Authority – as can be seen from the banners emblazoned on every available space.
A few years ago the old municipality buses disappeared from the town’s streets, to be replaced by a fleet of shiny new buses.
Full of character and their own special charm, the old-style dolmuş has now gone the same way.
For the last two months many of the main routes have become accustomed to a new fleet of vehicles – equally as shiny and new as their larger, longer, lean-burn counterparts.
Every bus also displays a poster telling passengers that it’s cleaned using environmentally products.
It seems that the casual, colourful look is also a thing of the past – all the drivers are now sporting smart new uniforms of pale blue shirts (with a badge) and dark blue trousers (see headline photo).
Farewell to the dolmuş rainbow…
It’s not just the colourful teeshirts that have gone. The arrival of the new buses has brought with it a change to the much loved and admired ‘rainbow of choices’ – the fronts of the town’s minibuses were coded in a series of bright easy to spot colours. Orange, green, blue, yellow and red – each route had its own colour – something that was not only helpful for non-readers and the short sighted; it was also a simple and innovative way for foreign tourists to find the right bus.
…And hello to the city card
Another change is the ‘Kent Kart’ – City Cards – a high tech solution that has made rummaging around for small change, and passing it from hand to hand along a crowded bus until it reaches the driver, a thing of the past.
These credit card sized cards can be bought and topped up from various sales points throughout the area (see photo above). The card costs 5 TL and can be loaded with an amount of choice.
On entering the buses, passengers display their city card to a scanner – the benefit to the passenger is 50 kuruş off the the normal ticket price.
Passengers can still pay by cash.
No more indi-bindi banter
İndi bindi means collecting and dropping off passengers en-route – not necessarily at designated bus stops. Being able to leap on a dolmuş by waving at a passing one to stop – without having to leg it to the bus stop carrying shopping – or saying to the driver, “can you drop me off somewhere near here please?”, has always made for a incredibly passenger-friendly, community based and jolly service. This is no longer allowed. Allegedly.
Fethiye buses disability friendly
Fethiye buses also have facilities for wheelchair users, both for access and inside the buses.
Wheel chair access is provided by a manually applied ramp (kept in the boot of the vehicle) but we were told by one of the drivers that with such high pavements, kerbs are often flush with the minibus entrance, so these ramps aren’t always necessary.
For further information about Fethiye buses – and more, click here.