Perception of Safety within Intermediate Public Transportation Systems: The Case of Minibüs1 in İstanbul

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TMMOB Şehir Plancıları Odası

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Minibüs, as well as other intermediate public transportation systems, continue to be a much-neglected field of study in Turkey despite its significance in urban transportation. Having evolved in response to unmet needs of a growing urban population, minibüs provides a remarkable insight about an adventitious and informal urban culture. The uncertain and irregular nature of minibüs, as an intermediate public transportation system, generates fears and concerns about personal safety. Moving from a series of focus group studies conducted in January and February 2018, this paper claims that the examination of perception of safety of passengers is key to understanding the operation and the distinctive features of this specific intermediate public transportation system. Research findings indicate that the appearance of minibüs and the comfort of passengers are critical in people’s perception of safety. As visual, audio and olfactive stimuli represent minibüs as a private enterprise, the passengers are torn between the conception of using a public transportation and being exposed a setting that intimidates them for the sake of a shorter or a cheaper ride. One crucial finding derived from the focus group study is that participants describe minibüs as a compulsion rather than a preference. It also became clear that they have adopted various tactics to facilitate their state of discomfort and fear such as getting off at far-out places or choosing a different time of the day for travel. However, these tactics pave the way for new vulnerabilities. It appears to be obvious that the flexibility, the size and the range of service provided by the minibüs have its own potentials and weaknesses. In a metropolitan city of a daily commuting volume of 32 million, it is important to learn from this informally developed system relying on a basic supply-demand chain. As it is, minibüs is an important research field to understand the needs of the passengers, limits of city’s land use and transportation planning mechanisms. Arguably – as long as minibüs remains to a private establishment, efforts to overcome its weaknesses will remain frantic. However, its careful analysis can be an effective tool to improve the existing formal public transportation.


Anahtar Kelimeler

Intermediate public transportation, Perception of safety, Minibüs; İstanbul, Public transportation.


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Planlama 2020;30(1):104–117