Almost a year after trams took to Athenian roads following a four-decade absence, the company which runs them launched a scheme yesterday allowing passengers to ride for free for a week, in the hope that the struggling mode of transport will not become a thing of the past again. The network, built at a cost of 380 million euros and completed just before the Athens Olympics, carries around 35,000 passengers daily – well short of the 80,000 that had initially been predicted. Critics say the service is infrequent and slow. So far, initiatives such as one-day travelcards have had little impact on the use of the tram compared to other modes of public transport, such as the metro. The operating firm has now decided to give passengers the opportunity to ride on the tram free of charge for a week in the hope they can drum up business. The ‘Free Pass’ program starts on Monday, when passes will be available from special tram-shaped kiosks in Glyfada. After a week, the kiosks will move to Nea Smyrni, then Alimos and Palaio Faliro, through which the 26-kilometer network runs.