These cities are home to the shared taxi, the best way to get from point A to B without breaking the bank or getting hopelessly tied up in traffic.
Contrary to what the name implies, a Turkish dolmu? (DOLE-mush, stuffed) is anything but cramped. In fact, compared to the Indian tap-tap, the Haitian tuk-tuk and the Kenyan matutu, a ride in a Turkish dolmu? is relatively tame. You don’t have to hang out windows, worry about bouncing off the truck bed, or share a seat with livestock.
Trust me, I’ve done all three. The dolmu? is a piece of cake in comparison.
Seeing as how my kids and I will be spending the summer in Turkey, I figured I’d better refresh myself on dolmu? etiquette.
Wanna’ come along for the ride?
Your Fool-proof Guide to Dominating the Dolmu?
- Step 1: Make sure you’ve spotted a dolmu? and not a regular taxi. If there’s a placard on the dashboard with a destination – say, Besikta?-Taksim, for example – you’ve found a dolmu?. Unlike a regular taxi, a dolmu? services a fixed route, hence the placard.
- Step 2: Get clear on the cash! To find out how much the fare is, you tell the driver your destination and ask “Ne kadar?” (NAY kadar, how much?).
- Step 3: Climb into a vacant seat. Standard etiquette for a mini-van dolmus is three passengers in the last row, three in the middle row and two up front next to the driver. If it’s a taxi dolmus, only one passenger may ride up front.
- Step 4: Pay your fee. It’s like “pass the baton”, only with money. Hand your TL (Turkish lira) to the driver or to a passenger in front of you. That person will pass it on to the driver and then pass any change back to you. If you’re traveling in a group, simply multiple the fare by the number of people.
- Step 5: Say “Dur!” (DER, stop) to signal to the driver when you want to get off.
See? I told you it was easy! Now, getting off a boat in Turkey, not so much.