Poor maintenance taking toll on Athens bus services


Staff shortages combined with Athens’s growing number of inoperable or dilapidated buses and trolley buses have led to a reduction of some 24 percent in services over the past three years, according to officials at OSY, the authority responsible for the operation of the two means of public transport in the capital.

According to workers, the shortage of spare parts and other problems has led to 60 percent of OSY’s fleet being sidelined. OSY managing director Giorgos Anagnostopoulos puts the figure at 45 percent.

Meanwhile, some 220 buses, or 10 percent of the fleet, cannot circulate inside the capital’s so-called “big ring,” which encompasses most of greater Athens, on days when pollution levels are deemed too high by the Environment Ministry, because they do not meet current green emissions standards.

Responding to a question in Parliament last week, Anagnostopoulos said that those 220 vehicles only comply with Euro I emission standards as regards nitrogen oxides. That means 95 percent higher than the level produced by new-generation vehicles. He said the buses will be gradually replaced in the coming years, without explaining where the funding will come from.

Athens buses are replaced every 13 years on average. In 2015, OSY buses and trolley buses made more than 351 million trips.