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Greece Decides More Bus, Train Routes to Avoid Overcrowding

The Greek government on Friday announced that it was increasing the service frequency of means of public transport in the country in order to avoid overcrowding in buses and trains and the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

The decision came after concerns were raised due to overcrowded buses, trains and metro cars, at the same time when Greece is dealing with an increase in Covid-19 cases.

It should be noted that the service frequency of means of public transport in Greece during the summer runs on special (reduced) schedules in order for personnel to take their summer vacations.

However, due to overcrowding issues, Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis decided to decrease the days of vacation leave of public transport workers by 20 percent and this way increase the route frequencies of metro trains, electric railway, buses and trolleybuses in August to facilitate the movement of commuters as much as possible.

Greek Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis in an Athens metro station (archive photo).

More routes

Following the decision, the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) announced that during peak hours, the time distances between trains on lines 2 and 3 of the metro will be set at 6 minutes and on line 1 (electric railway) at 7 minutes. In regards to buses and trolleybuses, the number of routed vehicles will increase during peak hours.

It is reminded that face masks must be worn when traveling on metro trains, electric railway, buses and trolleys. Passengers using public transport must also maintain social distancing from one another to avoid overcrowding.

The use of elevators at metro and train stations is prohibited, except by people with severe mobility problems. Also, commuters are not allowed to enter buses and trolleys from the first door.

Social distancing signs at Athens metro.

Speaking to state broadcaster ET1 on Friday, Government Spokesman Stelios Petsas said that overcrowding in public transport is one of the reasons of the spike in Covid-19 cases in Greece and which is why the government was looking to take additional measures.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Thursday told the government’s expert committee to “sound the alarm” if a specific measure is required to control the spread of the coronavirus in Greece.

During a virtual meeting with the expert committee, the Greek PM discussed the need for checks and inspections on public transport and entertainment spots to become more frequent.

Greece on Thursday recorded 65 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 4,401. With the death of two people from Covid-19 on Thursday night, the total number of fatalities in Greece rose to 205.

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