The name dolmuş is derived from Turkish for "seemingly stuffed", in reference to how the vehicles were often filled to the brim. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.
- "Turkish Dolmus Taxi or Minibus". turkeytravelplanner.com.
- "WHAT'S DOING IN ANKARA". The New York Times. April 5, 1981.
- "Getting Around in Fethiye - The Dolmus". turkeysforlife.blogspot.com. 3 April 2010.
- "Dolmuş story". Hürriyet. 2010-01-19.
- Bus Services in North Cyprus essentialcyprus.com, January 28, 2009 Archived August 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine