Athens metro use up 14 pct

Around half a million people used Athens’s new underground railway, or metro, on a daily basis last year, 14 percent more than in 2002, according to data released yesterday by the metro operating company. The figures also show that the busiest point in the metro, which was inaugurated in January 2000, is the Syntagma Square station between 8 and 9 a.m. on a Thursday. In 2003, an average 505,973 people used the 19-station network, up from 446,524 in 2002, Attiko Metro said. The busiest month was November, with an average 576,557 passengers. The greatest increase over 2002 was in July, when network use rose by 29.21 percent, while at the other end of the scale, February registered just a 4.94 percent rise. On an average working day, central Syntagma Square proved to be the most popular station, with 10.14 percent of all tickets being validated there. The termini of Dafni and Ethniki Amyna followed. Four new stations are scheduled to open this year.