Taxi threat ahead of Olympics

Disgruntled Athens taxi drivers yesterday threatened to attack VIPs using Olympic vehicles and ignore the crippling traffic restrictions that will apply during the Games unless the government submits to a series of demands. The head of Greece’s taxi drivers’ union, Efthymios Lyberopoulos, said cabbies want government approval to charge passengers an extra 3 euros to take them to and from Olympic venues. The taxi drivers are also up in arms at the decision, as of July 20, to restrict all but official Games-related traffic and public transport to a single lane on most of the congested capital’s major thoroughfares. Athens taxi drivers – there are nearly 15,000 cabs in the city – have long demanded access to the capital’s bus lanes, with no success so far. «If our demands are not satisfied, we will not allow vehicles leased from the Olympic sponsors to carry officials to their destinations, and we will systematically infringe the Olympic traffic lanes,» Lyberopoulos told Kathimerini. The union is understood to have lobbied for jobs driving the leased vehicles.