NEWS

Back-to-back crises take toll on transport 

back-to-back-crises-take-toll-on-transport

The decade-long Greek financial crisis and the ensuing Covid pandemic have taken a heavy toll on the infrastructure and the fleet of the country’s public transport.

Moreover, the deadly rail accident on Tuesday has again brought the chronic shortcomings of public transport to the fore.  

Aging vehicles and trains, major shortages of spare parts and delays in network maintenance, which should be repeated at regular intervals, have been the norm in transport for years. 

However, there is optimism that the renovation of the metro trains and the supply of 770 buses will improve the picture.

To this end, the Athens Urban Rail Transport Company (STASY) is proceeding with an extensive renovation of the capital’s metro trains, after decades of stagnation.

In the first phase, emphasis is placed on the ISAP trains that serve the Kifissia-Piraeus route (Line 1), which have not received a proper renovation in more than 35 years.

The reconstruction of the first train is already in progress, which will be the pilot on the basis of which the renovation works will be carried out on the other trains, as well on lines 2 and 3 of the metro, which are around 20 years old.

Tellingly, the automatic train operation (ATO) system was installed on subway trains about a decade ago, but it was only activated a few months ago. 

A major shortcoming of Athens public transport has also been the aging fleet of Attica’s bus and trolley bus operator (OSY). The last time the fleet was bolstered was in 2009-10, so it is no surprise that most of the fleet consists of old-technology vehicles, apart from 10% of that are state-of-the-art.

The already delayed tender for the supply of 770 buses for Athens and Thessaloniki, amounting to almost 400 million euros, is in the process of being announced. The second extension of the deadline for submission of interest is already under way.