NEWS

Olympic transport keeps going

Inspired by the success of Athens’s public transport system during the Olympics, the government is thinking of maintaining some of the measures of the past few weeks in an effort to increase the number of people using public transport; these include keeping the metro running until 2 a.m. Some 30 percent of Athenians use the public transport system to get about daily. The government wants to raise this number to 50 percent over the next four years. During the Games, 50 percent of Athenians used public transport and 90 percent of those going to Olympic facilities used it. The government’s proposal includes keeping the metro system and suburban railway open from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily (from the pre-Olympic 5 a.m.-to-midnight schedule). Another measure is to keep the tram working 24 hours a day and keeping four of the bus routes that were introduced specifically for the Games. These are the X14 Syntagma-Maroussi line, the X22 Piraeus-Nikaia, X27 Hellenikon-Aghios Dimitrios and X29 Peristeri-Aghios Antonios. Announcing these proposals, which will be tried over the month of September, Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said public transportation had proved a great success during the Games. The Piraeus-Kifissia urban railway (Line 1) tripled from the same month last year, carrying more than 650,000 passengers daily. The metro’s traffic (lines 2 and 3) doubled to 700,000 while bus passengers increased by 40 percent to 1.8 million daily. The two new additions to Athens’s transport system, the Proastiakos suburban railway and the tram, carried a total of 650,000 and 1 million passengers respectively over the whole Games period. Liapis said that traffic lights would be coordinated so that the tram will always have priority over other traffic. He said that the exact cost of transportation infrastructure that was built before the Olympics has not been calculated nor the cost of public transportation over the period of the Games. The Transport Ministry is also planning to keep bus lines X14 (Syntagma-Maroussi), 040 (Piraeus-Syntagma), E95 (Syntagma-Airport) and E96 (Piraeus-Airport) and Trolley Line 11 (Koliatsou Sq-Pangrati-Nea Elvetia) open 24 hours a day.