Similar to a bus it travels a planned route (posted on a sign in the front window) and the fares are set—no haggling here, like a taxi, you can get on or off anywhere along the route.
There are no bus stops*, no timetables and no stressing out about “missing the bus,” because dolmuşes (dolmi?) come along every 5 or 10 minutes, sometimes one straight after the other.
*with the exception of larger town centers where it is difficult for buses to stop just anywhere so keep an eye out for dolmus stop signs, a white D on a blue sign.
Either find a bus stop (where dolmus stop anyway) or somewhere on a main road where a dolmus can easily see you and there is room to pull in and let you on. Simply stick your hand out to request the dolmus to stop.
Check with the driver he/she is going where you want e.g. müze gidiyor musun? (Are you going to the museum?)
Take a seat and work out how much to pay, there are usually price lists stuck near the front of the dolmus, a journey should be around 3TL, if in doubt just hand down a 5TL note. Pass the money to the person in front of you who will pass it down to the driver, if you are due any change when the driver hits a straight road or traffic lights he will pass your change back up the chain!
NOTE: If there are no seats left on the bus it is considered polite for younger people to give up their seat to older passengers, if you travel with children please make them aware of this etiquette.
When you want to disembark ask the driver to stop (a few handy phrases to memorise):-
- "Lutfen burada" (lootfen burda) which literally means stop here please
- "musait bir yerde" (moo sigh eet beer yair day) which more or less means "stop at a convenient place"
- Some say "inecek var" (een eh jek var) which means "someone's getting off".
NOTE: Be polite and make sure you say thank you (teşekkür ederim) or good day (iyi gunler), good evening (iyi akşamlar) etc.