Parking no longer free in Athens

A pay system for parking in central Athens will go into operation today in an attempt by city council officials to tame the city’s chaotic traffic conditions. At an initial stage, 5,494 places will be color-coded, of which 2,538 will be assigned to residents for 10 euros per year. Visitors to the city center will be designated 1,956 spaces, while another 1,000 have been set aside for special use, which includes parking areas for embassies and ministries. The cost for the first half-hour will be 50 euro cents, which will then rise by 50 cents for each additional 30-minute increment. Drivers can pay the fee by purchasing a card from a kiosk or through a mobile phone system. A three-hour limit will apply and the parking charges will apply on weekdays (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). According to sources, only 400 residents have obtained the annual -10 pass needed to avoid being fined. Residents have accused the city council of only awarding one parking spot for every four apartments.

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