Tram ‘will take time to fit in’

Dozens of trams shuttled tens of thousands of commuters between central Athens and the coastal suburbs relatively smoothly yesterday, despite a minor accident. An estimated 70,000 passengers an hour piled into the gleaming new vehicles which, on the second day of operation, were being directed by traffic police at junctions where traffic light networks have yet to be changed to accommodate the new mode of transport. «It will take at least six months before Athenians can comfortably coexist with the tram, and before they start giving way to it at crossings and junctions, both major and secondary,» the head of a committee of tram experts, Yiannis Polyzos, said. The first accident occurred when a motorcycle strayed onto the tram lines on central Ardittou St and was bumped by a tram, causing minor injuries to driver and passenger. But the director of the firm which runs the tram, Angelos Laskaris, claimed that this was not a great concern, noting that there are tram accidents in Brussels and Amsterdam every three or four days.