Istanbul‘s Akbil electronic transit pass is being phased out in favor of the Istanbulkart RFID card, but Akbils are still in use.
(Here’s more on the various ways of paying transit fares in Istanbul.)
The Akbil is a small stainless steel “button” (actually a Maxim Integrated Products iButton) on a plastic holder. Inside is a computer chip.
Passengers using Akbil are allowed reduced-fare transfers among transit lines and means. Pay for the initial stage of your journey with an Akbil, and you can transfer to other transport within 120 minutes at reduced charge. So you could take the tram from Sultanahmet to Karaköy, board a ferry to Haydarpaşa, then board a suburban train, and your Akbil will record about two fares. (If you use tokens (jeton) or tickets(bilet) instead of Akbil, you’d pay three full fares for this journey.)
When you use your Akbil to transfer, the turnstile will make a different sound.
Two or more people can use the same Akbil. There is no need for a traveling party to purchase more than one Akbil. Just use the one Akbil for each person as they pass through the turnstile. However, you may not receive the reduced fares for transfers if you use an Akbli for more than one passenger.
Akbil is accepted on Istanbul‘s buses (both municipal and private), trams, Tünel, Metro, Füniküler, suburban trains, “sea bus” fast catamaran ferries, and traditional ferries.
(For shorter trips, four people can take a taxi for the same as, or just slightly more than, four transit fares.)
Here are tips on how to use and recharge Akbil.
—by Tom Brosnahan
|How to Use Akbil|