Many find the word ‘dolmuş’ (pronounced ‘dolmoush’) to be a little strange, but it basically means a shared taxi, and the word is used to refer to the many mini buses and stretch taxis that you see driving around the main roads in Cyprus!
The dolmuş is great way to travel from town to town, it’s relatively cheap, and you can pretty much flag them down anywhere, even though there are also official bus or dolmuş stops these days! Each bus route is leased from the North Cyprus government, with vehicles being owned privately and with each driver holding a license for transporting passengers. You can spot a dolmuş by the fact that most of them are white Ford transit minibus type vehicles, and they usually have their final destination shown in the front windscreen. One other sign is that you may be walking along minding your own business and you get beeped at, meaning the driver is asking you if you want to get on – they aren’t being rude, they are being courteous!
It never seems as if there are timetables but the buses are frequent during the day time and you should never have to wait too long for one, although by around 19.00-19.30 they become less frequent, so plan ahead if you want to get to your destination later in the day.
Unfortunately there are no dolmuş services that travel to the tourist sights around North Cyprus, but you can always book a guided tour or a private taxi. Dolmuş’ also have terminals in each of the towns where they all gather, and these are usually located right in the centre so you can pick them up there before they get too packed!
The normal cost for getting onto a dolmuş before you request your destination these days is around 2ytl at the time of writing, but again with oil and tax increases this may change without notice.
Similar shared taxi services are also run by the bigger taxi companies, you can get in a stretch limo Mercedes, (don’t get too excited as they are usually very old), which can take 7-8 passengers, and it will take you between the big towns of Lefkoşa, Famagusta, Güzelyurt and Kyrenia. You can also send packages and urgent documents this way as well, which can come in handy at times.