Minivans to compete with Athens taxis

Licensed minivans which will be allowed to carry up to nine passengers for a fixed charge could seen be driving through the streets of Athens and other parts of Greece, according to plans being drawn up by the Transport Ministry.

The government is hoping to finalize legislation by next month after talks with taxi drivers. It aims to pass a law that would allow private firms to operate fleets of minivans that would mostly serve tourists, such as ferrying them to and from Athens International Airports, for set fees.

Such services exist in a number of European countries such as France and Hungary and are permitted by European Union legislation.

There has been no official reaction yet from the taxi drivers, who number approximately 30,000 nationwide. Half of them are in Athens.

Their business has been severely affected by the economic crisis, the rising cost of fuel and tougher tax measures.

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