NEWS

More metro lines mean hard work ahead as Games approach

A proper transport network capable of meeting the needs of the congested city is impossible without a metro that will cover as many areas of Athens as possible. In view of this, the process of extending the Syntagma-Ethniki Amyna and Sepolia-Dafni lines has been set in motion, albeit with many delays and much backtracking. The extensions, as well as certain midway stations, have been divided into two basic categories: those that will have been finished before the Olympic Games and those to be completed after them. By June 2004, the completed line extensions will include: from Ethniki Amyna to Doukissis Plakentias and Stavros, from Dafni to Ilioupolis and from Sepolia to Peristeri. The extension to Aegaleo and midway stations between Ethniki Amyna and Stavros will be completed after 2004. The visit by Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou took in the station at Doukissis Plakentias, where they were received by the president of Attiko Metro, Yiannis Chrysikopoulos. They all descended in a works lift to a depth of 25 meters, where the giant tunneling drill «Athina» had already begun digging the tunnel toward Ethniki Amyna which is due to be finished by May 2003. The additional works on the Ethniki Amyna-Doukissis Plakentias section will be finished a year later. The giant drill will open the 3.4-kilometer-long tunnel, crossing Halandriou and Aghias Paraskevis streets, passing in front of the National Mint, crossing Mesogeion Avenue at the intersection with Xanthou Street, where an exit shaft will be dug. The planned stations will not be operational in the first stage, while Stavros station will become functional in June 2004 only if the Attiki Odos Company has the civil engineering works for the station ready by February 2003. If not, the Doukissis Plakentias station will be used instead as the metro terminus. The Consumer Protection Institute (INKA) yesterday asked the Bank of Greece to issue a circular to banks and businesses to stop them refusing to accept slightly torn or crumpled euro notes. INKA noted a rise in complaints from rejected consumers who have been forced to find a bank to exchange their worn currency for crisper notes.