Car ban leads to traffic jams

A week of experiments with Athens’s traffic aimed at making people more reliant on public transportation got off to a bad start yesterday as massive traffic jams (and furious drivers) clogged streets leading to the capital’s center. Thousands of drivers claimed not to know of the ban on all cars in the restricted area from 6.30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The chaos resulted in a 50-percent rise in carbon monoxide, though other pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and ozone) dropped by an equal percentage, the Environment Ministry said. Many Athenians, though, had left their cars at home. Passengers on buses increased by 15-20 percent, on trolley buses by 40 percent and on the electric railway by 8 percent. Fares were free. Transport Minister Christos Verelis said that by 2004, when there will be 50 kilometers of bus lanes, buses will travel at 17-18 kilometers per hour, from the present 12. A number of other events are planned through the week. «The medication given the patient was under the absolute control of the responsible nurses and doctors and was administered by doctors with the sole aim of saving the life and treating the patient. Every other reference belongs to the sphere of the fantastic,» the statement said.

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