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Transport tickets simplified February 8, 2008

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Transport authorities announced yesterday that an 80-cent ticket will be introduced on all modes of public transport and that the cost of monthly travel cards will be cut in a bid to tempt more Athenians onto trains, trams and buses.

A bi-ministerial committee decided that the simplification of ticket prices on Athens’s public transport system would help boost passenger numbers. At present, ticket prices on the metro, Athens-Piraeus electric railway, buses, trolley buses and tram are all different. There is a 1-euro ticket that allows passengers to use any form of transport in a 90-minute period.

As of May 1, however, this ticket will be priced at 80 cents and all other tickets will no longer be issued.

This will represent a 60 percent rise for passengers who use just buses or trolley buses. Tram riders will be forced to fork out 33 percent more and electric railway passengers will cough up 14 percent more. There will be no change for metro passengers.

However, transport officials believe that more passengers will benefit from the fact that they will be able to use more than one form of public transport for 90 minutes and only pay 80 cents.

The prices of monthly travel cards will also be cut with the aim of offering better value for the money to commuters. A monthlong ticket that can be used on the entire public transport network will cost 35 euros, instead of 38, from May 1. The price of a monthly pass for buses and trolley buses will be reduced from 17.50 to 15 euros.

These adjustments are the latest in a series of measures to encourage wider use of public transport in Athens. Another scheme, the extension of the hours of service on the electric railway and metro until after 2 a.m. on weekends, is due to begin tonight.

Longer hours for Athens metro are being mulled October 17, 2007

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Ministry weighs up a test run > The Transport Ministry is looking into extending the operating hours of the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railway (ISAP) and the metro on weekends in a bid to ease evening traffic congestion in the capital and provide commuters with a better service.

Recently appointed Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis and Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis agreed yesterday to further examine the proposal put forth by the latter. The idea is to extend the operation of the train lines by two hours to 2 a.m. on a test basis on Friday and Saturday nights for two months.

“ISAP has already replied and is reluctant. They believe it will increase their deficits. We are waiting for a response from AMEL, the metro operator,” said Hatzidakis after a meeting with Kaklamanis.

Sources said AMEL gave an initial positive response to the proposal. Athens Municipality officials have put forth the idea in the past as nighttime traffic in the city is often as bad as daytime conditions. Money owed by urban transport organizations is expected to reach almost 490 million euros by the end of the year. Seperate debts owed by the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) are seen as reaching 1.1 billion euros by the end of the year.

The expanding metro network has been gaining the support of Athens commuters. According to AMEL figures, the addition of the new station in Aegaleo, western Athens, has resulted in 80,000 more commuters using the metro, bringing the total number of its passengers to 680,000 per day. AMEL officials also pointed out the growing use by commuters of the Kerameikos station, surrounded by restaurants and bars, during the evening hours.

The Transport Minister also confirmed yesterday there will be a fare hike but gave no further details. “We have not reached a decision. This relates to the government in general and, of course, the Finance Ministry,” said Hatzidakis.

Sources said earlier this week that the cost of public transport is set to rise by about 10 percent early next year.

Transport due to get more costly October 16, 2007

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The cost of public transport is set to rise by up to about 10 percent early next year as the Transport Ministry seeks to combat the growing debt of the publicly owned companies that run the trains, buses and metro, sources said yesterday.

The previous rise in ticket prices was last year but recently appointed Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis appears to have inherited a series of public transport firms that are continuing to lose money and he needs to bring in extra income.

The money owed by urban transport organizations is expected to reach almost 490 million euros by the end of the year. The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) is the biggest debtor among public companies, also known as DEKOs, and will owe more than 1.1 billion euros by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, workers on the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railway (ISAP) are demanding more hirings. They argue that there has been a 20 percent rise in the frequency of trains on the line since 2004 but there are now 140 fewer employees than three years ago.

Athens metro extension October 5, 2007

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Works to extend Line 2 of the Athens metro from Aghios Dimitrios to the coastal suburb of Hellenikon are two weeks ahead of schedule, having already reached Argyroupolis, a metro spokesman said yesterday.

Work is expected to have reached the next scheduled station along the route, in Alimos, by next spring.

Related Links > www.ametro.gr

Cars drive Greek capital to gridlock September 27, 2007

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Transport experts reiterated yesterday that Athens will face serious problems in the next few years unless radical measures are taken to help ease the traffic congestion that is getting worse every year.

According to figures presented by experts, traffic on 95 percent of Athens roads will be at saturation point by 2010, from 55 percent of roads currently. The growing number of new cars being added to the capital’s roads is adding to the problem. Every year Athenians buy 150,000 new vehicles, industry data show.

Since 1990, the total number of cars on Athens roads has soared by 130 percent, according to recently appointed Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis. “There are no magic solutions,” said the Minister, who stressed that incentives need to be given to commuters to use the growing network of public transport. The government had predicted that by 2008 five in 10 people commuting in the city would use public transport but this goal has not been met.

Figures shows that only four in 10 people on a journey use one of the forms of public transport. Solutions that have worked in other European cities will be examined for Athens, added the Minister.

Experts that gathered at a conference on transport yesterday also pointed to the large number of illegally parked cars as adding to traffic woes. Data show that around 30,000 cars are illegally parked across Athens every day while hundreds of abandoned cars also take up rare parking spaces. Officials from the Municipality of Athens admitted yesterday that a lack of proper policing has resulted in a growing number of car drivers parking illegally.