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Urban rail operators in Turkey: Organisational reform in transit service provision and the impact on planning, operation and system performance

Many cities around the world have seen efforts to restructure the provision of public transport. While transit authorities as public agencies continue to deliver transit services in some cities, many others have privatised these services, have opened up the market to private operators or have outsourced them to newly founded subsidiaries. The situation is no different in Turkey, where new legislation was enacted in the 1980s enabling local authorities to establish corporate companies under their own agency, and to shift to them the entire responsibility for running certain public transport operations. The motivation is often to increase efficiency, productivity and profitability in these operations, although there is a risk that planning and operation may become fragmented under such organisational reforms, making it difficult to maintain coordination in planning and to ensure the provision of an integrated service. This paper analyses this organisational change in public transport in Turkey, focusing on the planning, operation and performance of urban rail systems in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir.