Congestion charge not a waste of time

Drivers in Athens spend half of the time it takes them to drive into the city center stuck in traffic jams, transport experts said yesterday as they presented a plan to introduce congestion charges in Athens. The time lost as drivers try to negotiate the city’s congested roads costs businesses up to 4 million euros a week, Evangelos Matsoukis, a professor at Patras University, told a conference in Athens. Matsoukis has submitted a plan to the Transport Ministry that envisages a system like the one in London to charge drivers to enter the city center during peak hours. Transport engineers suggest that drivers should be charged about 5 euros to drive into central Athens between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. Drivers would be able to buy passes via SMS, on the Internet, at special machines and gas stations.

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