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ESENLER (OTOGAR, BÜYÜK OTOGAR)

Old name: Litros

In the western suburb of Bayrampaşa is Esenler, site of one of Turkey's biggest and busiest bus stations and certainly the biggest and busiest in İstanbul.

Esenler Otogar was once a state-of-the-art facility but these days it's starting to show its age. Still, it's easy to get reach by a combination of tram and Metro, with the Otogar Metro station right in the centre of an oval ring of ticket offices. 

The Metro station is full of small lokantas serving quick meals for travellers. Here, too, there are small shops selling snacks suitable for a journey, clothes and an astonishing number of telephones. 

Some of the bigger companies such as Metro and Pamukkale have waiting rooms with toilet facilities above their tcket offices. Otherwise you'll be stuck with the none-too-salubrious public facilities in the towers at the corners of the ticket-office blocks. 

Traditionally, the area immediately surrounding the Otogar has not been the safest and it was unwise to wander out of the bus station even if you did have a long wait. The situation has improved recently as large shops such as Koçtaş and Bauhaus opened branches right beside the Otogar. The big Forum Shopping Mall is just one stop back along the Metro line at Kocatepe and features a range of places to eat as well as shop. 

Buses leave the otogar at a frantic pace with services to Ankara and a few other cities at least every half-hour. But one of the biggest drawbacks of the bus station is that there is no central information centre. This means that you will have to contact each individual bus company for information separately. The companies are often in hot competition with each other which means that they won't necessarily tell you if another firm is offering the service that they are not. 

Transport info

The Otogar Metro station is accessible from Aksaray. To get there you need to take the tram to Yusufpaşa.

Coming from Sultanahmet or Taksim with a lot of luggage you may prefer to change from the tram to the Metro at Zeytinburnu as the stations are side by side - at Yusufpaşa you will have to carry you bags up and down the steps of an underpass to get to Aksaray Metro station.

The Otogar is accessible by Metro direct from Atatürk Airport with no changes. 

 

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