Minibuses are the backbones of the public transportation in Turkey. Especially in rural areas, where small villages and towns are spread around, minibuses undertake a very important function. Similarly, minibuses in Bodrum are what we have for travelling around most of the time.
In Bodrum, the local transport also relies on minibuses today. In fact, they were all we had until 2014, when Mugla Metropolitan Municipality took over the regulation of local transport services in all districts of Mugla.
The Metropolitan Municipality of Mugla has brought some important improvements in public transportation across the Bodrum Peninsula as well as whole Mugla Province. Some of the new practices are closely related to the travellers, making it easier, and sometimes cheaper, to travel around Mugla where many other popular touristic destinations like Bodrum, Marmaris, Datca, Fethiye and Koycegiz are also in the vicinity.
To keep this article simple and organized, I have published a separate article about these important improvements at Mugla Kent Kart. In this article, you are going to find about a prepaid card which is used to pay for buses and minibuses with a discount. You will also find how to use the municipality’s mobile application for finding your way around, learning the schedules and tracking the vehicles with the help of real-time GPS based location services.
The extensive coverage and frequency make minibuses an essential service for anyone living or visiting Bodrum. Although the Metropolitan Municipality of Mugla has added some bus services in busy minibus routes, they are just a small part of minibus network with the same price list.
250,000 inhabitants live across the peninsula. Thousands of people are going to work, school or shopping every day. Minibuses are an important part of their daily routines. Although the demand, therefore the frequencies, for minibuses increases considerably in summers, minibuses are available all year round. For a traveller who would like to do more than spending all day at the hotel, they are the key for new discoveries.
Riding Minibuses in Bodrum
A minibus may be the most convenient way to go from somewhere to another, but it is not necessarily always the most comfortable way.
The number of seats in a passenger minibus is limited to 14, excluding the driver. However, they can accept standing passengers. This may cause annoyingly overcrowded minibuses. Fortunately, trips do not take too long in normal traffic conditions.
Each town has a designated area where minibuses wait in line for picking up passengers. On their route, they are only allowed to pick up or drop off passengers at minibus stops where “D” signs are placed. You need to find a “D” sign and wait until your ride arrives.
To make a minibus stop as you wait at the “D” point, just hail. The driver should pull over if it is not overcrowded inside. When you are close to your destination, say “inecek var” to inform the driver that you want him to drop you off at the next stop. If you are not sure where to get off, tell the driver where you want to go as the first thing when you get in. For example, if you tell the driver “Cruise Port” in a Bodrum-Icmeler minibus, he will pull over at minibus stop closest to the port. Sometimes, a kind reminder to the driver about where you want to be dropped off can be necessary just in case, he has forgotten about you.
Tip: In busy times, especially in summers, the travel times may drastically increase when heavy traffic combines with frequent pull overs for dropping off passengers and picking up the new ones. Consider possible delays when planning.
The Minibus Station
Every major town in the peninsula has a minibus station. The biggest one is in Bodrum just right next to the Bodrum Bus Terminal. It is 10 minutes away from the Bodrum Castle on foot.
Seeing so many minibuses at the station may be confusing for you at first. Do not be alarmed. Each minibus is assigned to a specific route and they wait at their own designated point in groups. All minibuses have signs on their front windows showing their destination. They also have signs on both sides telling the route which they are assigned for, like Bodrum-Gumusluk or Bodrum-Yalikavak.
Sometimes, you may not find the name of the place you are going to in the signs, like the hotel you are staying. So, you may not know which minibus is your ride. Do not hesitate to ask any of the drivers in the minibus station. They are usually the guys standing next to the vehicles.
Here is a piece of information which you will not use in practice: the minibus routes in Bodrum are classified as inner-city minibuses and town-minibuses. This information is only for explaining the minibus fares.
Every minibus route has its own price list which is displayed inside of the vehicle. Inner-city minibuses, like Bodrum-Icmeler, Bodrum-Bardakci or Bodrum-Gumbet, have fixed prices regardless of your destination. You can ride it for 100 metres, or you can ride until the last stop, you will pay the same price.
The town-minibuses, like Bodrum-Turgutreis, Bodrum-Ortakent or Bodrum-Turkbuku, have a variable pricing. Price increases with the distance and the last stop costs full price. Ask your driver “X ne kadar” which means “How much for X” where X is your hotel or the beach which you would like to go.
Routes and Schedules of Bodrum Minibuses
Every minibus route has its own schedule which changes based on the season and the demand. For example, Bodrum-İçmeler minibuses depart every 20 – 25 minutes in winters while they depart every 10 minutes in summers. The important thing to remember is that there is always a “first” and a “last” minibus for every line, and it is important to know their departure time, especially in the low season.
Imagine that you are on your way to Gumusluk for a beautiful evening to remember. You may easily loose the track of time when dining with your friends and family by the seaside, drinking raki and enjoying the best mezes around.
You need to know when the last minibus leaves to Bodrum, or wherever you are staying.
Although Gumusluk – Bodrum minibuses available until 4am or 5am in the morning in summers, they usually work until 9pm or 10pm in winters. If you miss the last minibus, you should either pay 10-20 times more for a taxi or find a hotel in Gumusluk to spend the night. Another option would be spending the night at the beach.
It happened to me and I had to go through all three options. Just be careful!
I have prepared a list showing the various available minibus routes around the peninsula which you can find below. You can use the distance chart showing the distances between towns and the Bodrum map for their locations when making your plans.
The schedules for different minibus routes are subjected to change due to demand which are heavily dependent on the season. There used be no way of knowing the exact schedule until 2014, since when the metropolitan municipality of Mugla took over the regulation of public transport in its vicinity.
Although the schedules are still changing without prior notice today, we have at least a mobile application showing the available routes and schedules not only for Bodrum, but also for other beautiful destinations like Marmaris, Fethiye, Koycegiz and Datca which are also districts of the Mugla province.
The name of the application is Mugla Kart. It has been launched by the metropolitan municipality of Mugla as a public service. Using the application for finding out schedules and routes are explained in Mugla Kent Kart article.
An Unsolved Mystery
There is one mystery about the minibus routes and it really annoys me.
Different minibus lines sometimes use the same roads. For example, Turgutreis minibus follows a route through Konacik and Ortakent to get to Turgutreis. So far, so good, right?
If you are to go to Ortakent, wating at a minibus stop in Konacik road, no Turgutreis minibus will accept you even if it is on their way. Upon you hail, it will stop, and the driver will ask you if you are going to Turgutreis or not. If you say “Ortakent”, he will keep driving leaving you behind. Because if you are going to Ortakent, you need to wait for an Ortakent minibus.
This is just an example. The same weird practice exists on almost all routes.
I have talked about this practice with Bodrum’s former mayor, minibus drivers and the president of the city council but the answers are the same: this is the way it is.
Bodrum Maritime Museum
Is Bodrum Safe?