Greeks snub car free day

Athenians yesterday seemed to snub the European Union’s (EU) annual car free day as traffic choked the city’s roads as usual despite free travel on public transport. The day brings to a close European Mobility Week, which the EU launched in 2002 to promote sustainable mobility and alternative forms of transportation to the car. Athens was not shut to automobile traffic as were some European cities. In a move the government hopes will help make bus travel more attractive, Transport Minister Michalis Liapis said yesterday that drivers that illegally use bus lanes will be photographed and fined. A study recently conducted by OASA, the Athens Urban Transport Association, showed that buses can reach speeds of about 21 kilometers an hour when the lane is free of other traffic. Otherwise, buses travel at a slower 12 to 15 kilometers per hour.