How to ride a Turkish Dolmus?
photo by Kenneth Wong

1- There are no dolmus stops. They stop and pick-up passengers whenever and wherever they want. This is good if you are a passenger waiting for a dolmus. This is not good if you are driving behind the dolmus. So, wait at an appropriate point where they can see you and they can stop without too much “Fast and The Fourios” movements.

2- You can easily hail them and they will stop. Most of the time they will stop or honk even if you don’t hail.

3- Before hop on to the dolmus, make sure it goes to the same direction you want to go. You don’t need to speak Turkish to do this. Just say the name of the place you want to go to the driver and he will do the appropriate decision for you.

4- You are in, take a seat. This is the most important decision you have to make.
Now take a seat and work out how much you have to pay from the price list, usually stuck above the windscreen.

5 - Hand the money to the person in the seat in front of you. It gets passed hand-to-hand, man to child to women, all the way up to the driver. He will make out the change when he gets a clear stretch of road with, if you’re lucky, one hand on the wheel and hand it back as before, person to person.

6 - When you want to stop, shout something appropriate and say good evening (Iyi aksamlar!) as you go.

Meet the author

After leaving Australia in 2003, Casey's path landed her in Istanbul for a summer stint only. Once addicted to Istanbul's eccentricity and charm, Casey failed to find reason to leave six years later. An avid traveller of sorts, Casey spent most of her time roaming across Europe and the Middle East looking for adventure and cultural experiences. Now a freelance editor and writer working from Madrid, Casey spends her days finding the words to excite the inner traveller in everyone.