On Athens, taxi strike, low birth rate

Strollers in Athens

Having spent two month on crutches, I know of all the problems of the ?sidewalks of Greece,? but as an American, I have dodged many demonstrations in my 16 years here.

The news broadcasts make it look like Syntagma Square is Athens. In fact it is easy to avoid the demonstrators by moving a few blocks to the side until they pass.

That is not to say that the closing of central Athens daily, and the disruptions in transportation that goes with that, is not a major factor in the decline of business in the downtown area, but only that most of the problems can be bypassed on any given day.

Les Grove

Athens — is it kid-friendly?

I brought my wife and son, who is 9, to Athens last year and we had a phenomenal time. It is a tightly packed city and I am sure even with a stroller, for those without younger kiddies, things would be OK.

We visited all the sites and lived for three weeks in Koumoundourou Square and Psyrri — it was fantastic.

Athens is alive. I would, though, agree with the writer, that all the riots, even though they are not as big as most think, and the strikes, do little for Greece’s image abroad.

It is very hard for non-Greeks and even some Greeks who have never lived or enjoyed the life of Athens to really understand what a great city it is, after seeing all the rioting and taxi strikes.

Lambis Katsavos, Australia

On ?why Greeks aren’t making babies?

Having married a Greek man… and five kids later… I was shocked to read this article.

When I first met my husband the thing I loved the most about the Greek culture was their love of family and children (the second was their food!) and in our travels to Greece, our baby (then 6 months old) was admired and spoiled by Greeks.

I am so saddened to hear that the abortion rate in Greece is so high. I can only ask if women and couples having abortions are aware of what an abortion procedure entails? Or what the psychological risks of abortion are to women?

If that information were known, I cannot imagine such wonderfully caring, family-orientated culture embracing the practice of abortion as it appears to have.

Thanks for the article, though I am both shocked and disheartened.

Mothers, fathers, families and of course their babies deserve better than abortion.

Sonja Couroupis

Thank you taxi drivers!

I work in a travel agency on Rhodes and we bring around 800 tourists per week. We were using many taxis during our transfers and sometimes the turnover per week for our taxi expenses was more than 4,500 euros.

When the strike occurred, first we panicked but then made up a simple plan: We started renting cars and giving them to our staff to make the transfers ourselves. Result: We saved more than 2,000 euros per week, so more than 6,000 euros so far!

Moreover, all the other travel agencies are doing the same.

You taxi drivers can protest as long as you like, tourism will never stop and you are only hurting yourselves.

Sebastien Mavridis, Rhodes

Taxi driver strike

The taxi drivers should side with complete deregulation of their industry, including, but not limited to, bans on local government restricting or requiring numbers of taxicabs, rate regulation, and qualifications for drivers. This may take a bit of getting used to on the part of the drivers, and they will no longer have licenses that they can sell or use as property.

However, the benefits will be enormous.

Companies can charge what they need, staff according to need, and discipline drivers all without the interference of busybodies on the city council.

Freedom is amazing.

I own a taxi company in Phoenix, Arizona, United States. It is the only city of its size in the USA (possibly in the world) without a taxi and limo commission. And freedom works a whole lot better than in the over-regulated environments of other cities. Yes, the drivers may take a loss on the licenses that they have purchased. But the freedom to be able to ply their trade without the nonsense generated by the cities will be refreshing.

All industries in Greece (everywhere really) should be freed from the binders of foolish government interference.

Paul Ferah, Arizona

The secret of our success

My name is George Carrington and I am a Greek American. I’m so touched with what Iakovos Mike Delavinias wrote about Greece. I felt that he read my thoughts and feelings and wrote them down. I also think that ekathimerini should be more supportive of Greece.

George Carrington