NEWS

Cabbies to stall Olympic Family transportation?

Athens taxi drivers have threatened to block Olympic officials on their way to venues during the Games, according to Greek media reports yesterday. Taxi drivers, who are hoping for a financial boost from the thousands of officials and tourists expected to visit Athens for the Games, say plans to rent cars to transport officials would dent their revenues. «We are thinking very seriously of taking action,» Efthymios Lyberopoulos, head of Greece’s taxi owners union, told Greek daily City Press. «We should go out on the streets and get the passengers out of any ‘Athens 2004’ vehicle we see,» he said. About 78,000 «Olympic Family» members are expected to use official cars and minivans during the Games, which start on August 13. Lyberopoulos said the decision by organizers ATHOC to allow some 14,300 taxis to use just one lane on the Olympic roads around the sport venues would also hurt revenues. «This measure would deter people from taking a taxi, trimming a taxi driver’s miserable day’s work,» he said. ATHOC had said all accredited vehicles carrying Olympic officials would use special Olympic lanes to facilitate their access to sport venues. Public transport would use the right lane, while taxis and non-accredited vehicles would be confined to just one lane. Athens is notorious for its traffic-clogged roads. Lyberopoulos also doubted the drivers ATHOC hired for the vehicles were professional enough to carry the Olympic family safely to their destinations. An ATHOC official said they were still discussing the issue with the government and had not reached any agreement yet. (Reuters)