NEWS

Parking blitz helps buses pick up speed

About 600 municipal police in Athens will monitor roads used by public buses and trolleys as of today in a bid to free the streets of illegally parked cars that slow down and often bring to a halt parts of the city’s transport network. Following an agreement made by the City of Athens Council and the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA), the municipal police will travel on buses and trolleys in order to intervene when an illegally parked car has blocked its path. According to official estimates, there are an estimated 87 problem points in Athens where buses either have difficulty passing or come to a complete standstill due to a car that has been left there by a driver. Transport experts consider the presence of 30,000 illegally parked cars as being among the main reasons behind Athens’s serious traffic problems. Sources said that the City of Athens Council and OASA deal does not mean that municipal police will be coming down harder on drivers. The removal of illegally parked vehicles on roads is estimated to improve traffic flow from 14 to 145 percent, according to a study by the National Technical University of Athens. Drivers will be hit with a 65.50-euro fine for illegal parking and 34.50 euros if they have double parked or have left their car on a sidewalk. A recent pickup in the policing of bus lanes has resulted in buses traveling at an average of 21 kilometers per hour versus 13 kilometers per hour when the roads are not kept clear by law enforcement.