On Friday, a 16.5 kilometre-long line was launched which will lower the travelling time between the Olympic Park area and the main bus terminal in Esenler, to just eight minutes. The line can carry 70,000 people per hour and is an important milestone in Istanbul 2020’s promise to keep the average Olympic Village-to-venue time for athletes to just 16 minutes.
Hasan Arat, Chairman of the Istanbul 2020 Bid Committee, said: “The construction of this metro line is an historic undertaking and underlines how serious Istanbul 2020 is about delivering an exceptional Games platform for everyone; athletes, fans and the Olympic family.
“Istanbul is the fifth most visited destination on the planet so we have a robust transport network in place, but a thriving city needs constant improvement and Istanbul 2020 recognises that. Developments such as this will also benefit Istanbul’s population for years to come as it is part of our Integrated Urban Transport Master Plan that will deliver an investment of $9.8 billion in transport infrastructure between 2009 and 2023.”
Istanbul’s ambition to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games started in 1992 with the enactment of Turkey’s Olympic Law and the 21 years since have encompassed five bids. Istanbul’s last bid was in 2005 and the face of the city’s transport infrastructure has improved dramatically in the last eight years.
So too has its experience in event-hosting. Over the past seven years Turkey has hosted more than 40 major events. Two major sports events are taking place in Turkey through June and July: the 2013 Mediterranean Games in Mersin and the FIFA U-20 World Cup Turkey 2013.