Recently, high speed railway projects have been realized in Turkey; besides, there are great efforts for the rehabilitation of existing lines, modernization of the rolling stock, establishing logistic villages, cooperation with local administrations in urban transportation, achieving quality in passenger and freight transportation.
High speed train operations officially started on 13 March 2009 between Ankara-Eskişehir (245 km) which is the 1st phase of high speed train project that will connect Ankara and İstanbul, two major cities in Turkey, having a route of 533 km. Since then, high speed train is operated on the high speed line of 206 km and on the conventional line of 49 km and the traveling time is 1 hour 30 minutes. The construction of high speed line between Esenkent-Sincan (16 km) and Hasanbey-Eskişehir (9 km) has been completed. After these lines are put into service in March 2010, the traveling time between Ankara-Eskişehir will decrease to 1 hour 5 minutes. Eskişehir is a touristic city and a university town with over 65.000 students.
YHT high speed train carry approximately 4 000 passengers per day and over 5 000 passengers on week-ends between Ankara-Eskişehir-Ankara. In the fieldworks, it was determined that travels for day-trip and touristic purposes were maximum 15% before High Speed Train. But the percentage of people traveling for day-trip and touristic purposes increased to 40% after YHTs was launched.
High Speed Trains, having advantages such as competitive traveling time, comfort, high level service standards, safety and punctuality, have activated the “Pending Demand” and increased the passenger potential in this route.
Number of passengers per year on the Ankara-Eskişehir route is approximately 5 million people and journeys by private cars have the biggest share with 69% since the distance is closer.
Considering modal shift, YHTs received the biggest share from private cars, (air transportation is not provided in this route.) However, number of travels per year was 1.8 – 2 million by scheduled-transit trains and buses before YHTs; today this number is just close to the transportation volume of YHT.
High Speed Trains created a new passenger potential and increased the number of travels annual per capita. Number of journeys for people who travel occasionally and frequently increased. 600 people travel every day regularly with monthly season cards.
YHTs had 9 services in total – 4 from Ankara, 5 from Eskişehir – per day between 13 March 2009 and 31 August 2009 but, as of 1 September 2009, number of services doubled and it became totally 15 runs – 7 from Ankara, 8 from Eskişehir - per day. A further increase in the number of services is considered.
With High Speed Train which has a 441 passenger capacity in total – 356 passengers in economy class, 55 passengers in business class – number of passengers were risen to approximately 4000 person/day with an increase of 595 % after the services doubled as of 1 September 2009. Before that, 575 passengers between Ankara-Eskişehir by scheduled trains were carried per day. This number reaches over 5000 passengers on week-ends. The aim in this route is to decrease the use of private cars and to reach 7 000 passengers per day.
As of the late November in 2009, YHTs had 3 339 services and carried 1 000 000 passengers between Ankara-Eskişehir-Ankara. The targeted number for 2010 is 2 000 000 passengers per year. YHTs are operated with an occupancy rate of about 75% and this result is considered as successful if we consider that the main target is to connect Ankara and İstanbul.
Combined passenger transportation is provided from Ankara to İstanbul and Kütahya by YHT and conventional train connection, from Ankara to Bursa by YHT and bus connection. 4+4=8 conventional train services between Eskişehir-Haydarpaşa-Eskişehir, 3+3=6 services by DMU sets between Eskişehir-Kütahya-Eskişehir and 6+6=12 bus services between Eskişehir-Kütahya-Eskişehir are performed per day as a connection to YHTs.
In 2009, 85 897 passengers between Ankara-İstanbul, 13 296 passengers between Ankara-Kütahya and 24.356 passengers between Ankara-Bursa were transported through combined transportation.
As a result of a satisfaction survey made with passengers on combined transportation of YHT + conventional train connection, 69,14 % people considered it as “good”, 19,75 % replied as “very good” and people of 89 % gave a positive response in total.
In order to provide an economical journey and to gain regular customers, YHT Travel Cards which are used similarly in Europe, have been issued and are applied.
(article follows in the next UIC e-News).