The first section of the T1 line opened between Aksaray and Beyazt on 13 June 1992 and was later extended first to Topkap and Zeytinburnu, and later to Eminn. On 29 June 2006, the Eminn-Kabata extension was opened, making the transfer to KabataTaksim funicular possible. On 3 February 2011, it was fused with the T2 line that was opened in 2006 between Zeytinburnu and Baclar by converting T2 line's stations to low-floor tram stations.
Aksaray is also known as a hub for the illegal sex trafficking of young women from Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. Some reports in the Turkish media have claimed that the neighborhood is especially prone to prostitution because it is a "no man's land" between two adjoining police jurisdictions, Fatih and Eminonu.
Trams returned in 1990, and a second generation of modern tram service began service in 1992. In this modern era, Istanbul is served by three separate tramway systems. The Asian side has a heritage tramline, whereas the European side has both a heritage tramline and a modern tram system.
Istanbul inaugurated horse trams in 1872 and these served the people of Istanbul until 1912. Following this date, electric trams were put in place and they were the main means for urban public transport until 1966. Many additional tramlines were added over time, and the system reached its greatest extent in 1956 with 108 million passengers carried by 270 tram-cars on 56 tram lines. But starting from the mid-1950s, automobile traffic congestion in Istanbul increased rapidly. Bus and taxi services grew rapidly over the same period of time. The number of private cars also increased greatly, and many narrow streets, which were ideal for trams, now started filling up with motor vehicles. Tramcars were not modernized for many decades, and some of the 1911 electric cars were still running in the 1960s. At that time, modern buses provided faster and smoother journeys, whereas the trams were slower, narrow single-coach cars and had many outdated features like bow collectors. Poor maintenance of tracks caused derailments and bumpy rides. Due to the city's rapid growth, reconstruction of Istanbul's infrastructure became urgent, and many streets were widened. The transport authority thought that slow tram transport sharing road space with fast bus transport would cause many problems in trying to guarantee smoother city transportation. In sum, the tramway had little comfort and was slow because it was caught in the traffic jam caused by the cars, and the tracks were also outdated, noisy and in the middle of the street. Cars had to pass the tramway on the right, causing danger for the pedestrians boarding and alighting the tramway. Comparatively, electric trolleybuses had proved to be a good alternative to trams in many countries. Due to all of these factors, the transport department decide to replace trams with trolleybuses in Istanbul.
Trolleybuses service started well, but due to their needed continuous high investment and maintenance, they were not affordable to transport authority either, and trolleybus service survived only 23 years.
After closing the tram network in mid-1960s, it was believed that by removing the old-fashioned obstacle to smooth city traveling, the city would be able to move faster than before, but this belief was proven to be false in the following years. The uncontrolled increase in petrol-based vehicles like buses, taxis, and private cars began to choke the streets of Istanbul. For being situated mostly in Asia, Turkey suffered by many problems common to developing countries, including pollution, traffic jams, illegal migration, low literacy and increasing population, etc. Increasing population led to the increasing urbanization of Istanbul, which spawned increasing motor vehicles, increasing air and noise pollution, and increasing traffic jams and smog. The city eventually became slower than pre-tram closure era. From 1970 onwards, all this problems grew rapidly, and by the mid-1980s Istanbulians realized that the failure to control motor vehicles, and the closure of tram network, was a great mistake. Many cities around the world like Tunis, Buenos Aires, etc., also realized this error and, like them, Istanbul also planned for the return of the tram.
As an experiment, Istanbul first opened a heritage tramline at European side in 1990. Due to its increasing popularity, a modern tramline was opened in 1992, also at European side. Another heritage tramline opened in 2003, but this time on the Asian side, and another modern tramline opened in 2007.