Stavros Kefalas is a professional from Corinth in the Peloponnese who is willing to go out of his way to contribute to the development of tourism in his hometown.
Recently he got a call from a friend who works at an information office next to the Corinth Canal that separates the peninsula from mainland Greece.
“There’s a tourist who has been waiting an hour and a half for a bus to take her from the Isthmus to Ancient Corinth, but there’s no such line. What should we do?” his friend asked. Kefalas offered to give her a ride, but he also wanted to know how she ended up stranded there.
The 55-year-old American teacher told him she had arrived in Corinth on the suburban railway. “She asked at the train station’s ticket desk how she could get to Ancient Corinth and the employee advised her to get a taxi to the Isthmus and then take a bus from there. The cabbie then proposed that he give her a ride to Ancient Corinth, wait for her there and then drive her back to the train station for 50 euros,” said Kefalas. The woman chose to get a bus as it was cheaper. “But of course there was no bus.” After waiting for 90 minutes, she decided to turn to the information desk.
“She had been to Corinth before but she had never visited Ancient Corinth, so she set off from Athens hoping to see the ancient city,” Kefalas said.
The staff at the station said the whole thing was probably a misunderstanding, adding that they always try to help tourists seeking information.
But the real problem is that there is no public transport connecting Corinth train station to the city center. Visitors have to take a taxi to the city center some 2 kilometers away (which costs about 5 euros) and then a bus to the Corinth Canal or the ancient city. Alternatively they can go on an organized tour for 50 euros – a rather high price. At weekends, though, from 2 p.m. on Saturday until Sunday night, there is no public transport at all toward Ancient Corinth.
“Very often, visitors arrive at the train station and immediately take the train back to Athens because they don’t want to spend so much money,” said an employee at the station. “Whatever we try to do will have little effect unless attitudes change,” Kefalas concluded.