NEWS

Use public transport to make traffic plans work

In an earlier interview with Kathimerini, you said your greatest concern for the Games was the smooth running of the city. The trial period for the traffic restrictions has been postponed from July 20 to August 1. Meanwhile the lifting of Athens’s traffic restriction zone in August was reversed. Is there enough time left to test the city and the public with the new measures and to make the necessary corrections and adjustments, or will we have to experience a general regime of restrictions and limits on traffic so as to ensure the safe transport of athletes and officials to and from the venues? First of all, I would like to emphasize that there will not be any bans on traffic for the public in the city. Traffic plan The smooth transportation of escorts and officials is the subject of a thoroughgoing plan concerning traffic and other measures. The trial period was postponed because we did not want the public to be inconvenienced without any substantial reason. I am sure that there is sufficent time to conduct the trial and to familiarize the public with the new conditions. In my view, what will determine to a large extent how well the measures work is the public’s willingness to adjust to new circumstances by electing to travel by public transport. ‘We aren’t worried about a terrorist attack’ Has anything changed in the assessment of threats compared with your earlier statement that there was no information about a planned terrorist attack on the Games? Nothing has changed. The information we are receiving still does not worry us. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t obliged to take all necessary measures. Despite the praise the security plans have received from authorities abroad, some sections of the media are still cultivating rumors about terrorism and representing extreme scenarios. To what do you attribute this? It is true that the prevailing view abroad is that Greece can hold a safe Olympic Games, perhaps more so now than any other country. The rumormongering in which part of the foreign media is indulging is easily explained. The theme of terror sells worldwide. It is on top of the agenda and guarantees newspaper readers and television viewers. To be fair, we must not forget there are countries with different experiences and hence different views of terrorism, but overall, the internationally media have expressed their trust in our endeavor.