Taxis may be let into bus lanes

As Athens public transport officials yesterday said the capital’s 15,000 taxis might be allowed into bus lanes for part of the day, taxi drivers called a two-day strike for next week seeking full access and fewer bus lanes. The taxi union (SATA), which also wants the government to approve an increase in fares, said its members would strike from 5 a.m. on Wednesday to 5 a.m. on Friday. SATA is also planning a protest along Athens bus lanes on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, the new chairman of the Athens public transport company (OASA), Georgios Papavassiliou, yesterday told journalists taxis might be allowed into bus lanes – created to help buses and trolley buses negotiate the capital’s congested streets at a reasonable speed – from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 7 to 9 p.m., after which all vehicles can use the bus lanes. Papavassiliou heralded a police crackdown from December 2 on motorists driving or parking in bus lanes, and said more cameras would be installed to catch offenders – at least half of whom are taxi drivers. OASA will soon add two new bus lanes to Alexandras Avenue, boosting the network to 27 kilometers.

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