Car pooling comes to Greece

A private initiative aimed at reducing the number of cars on the country’s congested roads by encouraging motorists to share journeys, especially into the busy capital, is being embraced by commuters disenchanted with government efforts to relieve traffic and pollution. «If everyone driving into the center had at least one more person in their car, the number of cars on the road would automatically halve,» according to Giorgos Sakellaris, co-founder of – a website which encourages motorists to advertise a planned journey in advance so others taking the same trip can join them. Fuel and any parking costs would then be divided, in accordance with the principle of «car pooling,» which has already been successfully implemented in other European countries. «I thought it was a very easy way to improve our quality of life, reduce our daily costs and protect the environment,» Sakellaris said. There has been some skepticism about the success of the scheme in Greece, where most citizens have at least one car and many have two. Nevertheless, 100 people have registered on the Greek website, which gets around 800 hits per day. «This (initiative) should have been undertaken by the state,» transport engineer Stratos Papadimitrios told Kathimerini. He stressed that the scheme would not solve the traffic problem in Athens, which accommodates more than two million cars per day, but noted that «even a 5 or 10 percent reduction in the number of cars in the center will make a significant difference.» Pollution would also be eased by a reduction in the number of cars which, studies show, emit two or three times their weight in carbon dioxide every year.