Passengers have flocked to use Istanbul’s new Mecidiyeköy–Mahmutbey extension after it opened at midday today, Wednesday 28 October.
The 18 km extension forms part of the M7 metro line that runs from Kabataş to Mahmutbey on the European side of the city, connecting eight districts of Istanbul.
To commemorate the opening one day before Turkey’s Republic Day, Istanbul Metropolitan Council announced the first 10 days of the extended line’s operation will be free of charge for all passengers.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu was unable to attend the opening ceremony as he is currently in hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19. However, he issued a message to the city via social media.
The M7 line now comprises of 15 stations. It passes through the heart of the city, serving some 3 million Istanbulites living in Beyoğlu, Beşiktaş, Şişli, Kağıthane, Eyüp, Gaziosmanpaşa, Esenler, and Bağcılar.
The extension should help ease Istanbul’s traffic congestion, as the M7 is well served for metro intersections and public transport links with the city’s tram line and the metrobus system. They include the Yenikapı-Hacıosman metro line at Mecidiyeköy, the Topkapı-Mescidi Selam tram link at Karadeniz Mahallesi, and the Kirazlı-Olimpiyat-Başakşehir metro line at Mahmutbey.
The new M7 trains serving the extended line are driverless. However, all stations are supervised and there are emergency response personnel on all trains, according to a statement by the Istanbul Metropolitan Council.
The same statement said the M7 is “the first driverless metro line of the European side of Istanbul,” and that the line is “ranked first in the world with 2,160 people in terms of single train capacity.”
The full M7 Kabataş–Mahmutbey metro line is the ninth longest in Europe, and 21stin the world.
In total, Istanbul now has 172.25 km worth of metro lines, boosting the “proportion of urban rail transit in public transportation has increased from 17.8 percent to 22.3 percent”.
Istanbul’s newly extended M7 metro line in stats:
M7 extension (Mecidiyeköy–Mahmutbey) track length: 18 km
Number of districts the extension runs through: 6
Total number of people M7 now serves: 3 million
One-way journey time, from one end of the line to the other: 32 minutes
Number of M7 trains: 80
Travel frequency: 6 minutes
Hourly passenger capacity in one direction: 70,000
Total number of M7 stations: 15
Number of escalators: 225
Number of elevators: 108
Number of turnstiles: 316
Number of cameras: 1,192
Main image, top, of a driverless train on newly opened M7 extension metro line, 28 Oct. 2020. Photo © Twitter / Ekrem İmamoğlu International