Car still rule the road in Athens

The majority of Athenians still prefer to conduct their daily journeys by car, despite the steep rise in gas prices, according to the results of a transport survey released yesterday. The Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) said that figures for the number of commuters using public transport in the first four months of this year only rose by some 4 percent compared to the same period last year. March was a particularly bad month for public transport, as a series of strikes shut down either the whole system or sections of it for several days. The number of tickets sold for journeys in March fell by 16 percent in comparison to 2007. Of some 7 million journeys conducted every day, about 2.6 million involve public transport. OASA said that an average of 1.3 people travel in each car that circulates on Athens’s streets, which is only a little higher than the average number of people on motorcycles. Over the last 10 years, the number of cars in Athens has risen from 245 per thousand people to 371 per thousand people.