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A row of dolmuş minibuses

In Turkey and Northern Cyprus, a dolmuş (pronounced [doɫmuʃ][1]) is a share taxi that runs set routes within[2] and between[1] cities.


The name dolmuş is derived from Turkish for "seemingly stuffed", in reference to how the vehicles were often filled to the brim.[3] At some locations they depart from the terminal only when a sufficient number of passengers have boarded.

In some cities, dolmuşlar are only allowed to board and disembark passengers at designated stops or terminals.[1] In less busy locations, passengers may board anywhere along the route. In fact, a dolmuş with empty seats may slow down to pick up more passengers.[3] In some cities, to prevent extremely slow travel, intermediate stop timings of dolmuşes are regulated more like a regular bus on a latest allowable arrival basis.

A foreign passenger described the ride as being "terrifying, awe-inspiring, confusing, incomprehensible, charming, hospitable and alien", and those unfamiliar with them may be surprised by the speed of dolmuş travel.[4]

In Turkey the vehicles used are often brand-new minibuses,[3] but in some parts of Cyprus – as of 2009 – aging Mercedes-Benz stretch limos serving as dolmuşlar can still be seen.[5]


An Otokar M-2000 dolmuş

In Turkey the industry is regulated under an apportionated registration scheme. Despite the meaning of their name, laws prevent these minibuses from becoming too crowded.[3] In İzmir and some other cities, standing passengers are not allowed; in İstanbul and some other cities, they are. In Turkish controlled Northern Cyprus, dolmuş routes are leased under an apportionated registration scheme and vehicles are licensed.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Turkish Dolmus Taxi or Minibus".
  2. ^ "WHAT'S DOING IN ANKARA". The New York Times. April 5, 1981.
  3. ^ a b c d "Getting Around in Fethiye - The Dolmus". 3 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Dolmuş story". Hürriyet. 2010-01-19.
  5. ^ a b Bus Services in North Cyprus, January 28, 2009 Archived August 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine