Getting Around Athens
The Athens Mass Transit System involves of a large bus fleet, a trolleybus fleet that principally serves the town center area, the Athens Metro, a tram line connecting the southern suburbs to the town heart, and the Athens Suburban Railway services. The public transportation system is occasionally interrupted by the striking of its public employees.
The Attiko Metro is a cutting-edge motorway in Europe uniting the town of Elefsina (located in western Attica) to the “Eleftherios Venizelos” Athens International Airport (Spata, eastern Attica). Part of the Athens peripheral ring road, it avoids Athens and offers 27 main and secondary interchanges for entrance and exit into /from the capital. To enter the motorway tolls are paid, the fare depending on vehicle category based on height and number of axes.
Cyclists will find Athens a terrible suggestion, with agitated traffic and serious air pollution; a far better idea is to catch the train between Athens and Corinth or Thebes and begin cycling from these reasonably calm towns.
Athens is operated by a network of diesel buses and natural gas buses. A standard bus ticket costs €0.50. Use the €3.20 ticket to travel to or from the Airport. The bus service operated under Ethel Thermal Bus Company is the principal operator of buses in Athens. It consists of a network of 300 bus lines which cross the entire Attica Basin. It has an operating staff of 5,327 employees, and runs a fleet of 1,839 buses. Of those 1,839 buses 295 of them run on natural gas.
ISAP, which is the oldest and for the most part runs on the ground, unites the port of Piraeus to the northern suburb of Kifissia and serves 22 stations and a network length of 25.6 km. ISAP has a everyday tenancy of approximately 600,000 passengers. It will be extended to Agios Stefanos, a suburb located 23 kilometers to the north of the center of the city. The line is currently 25 km long and has 24 stations. After the extension to Agios Stefanos, it will be 36 km long.
The metro system is now fully operational. In order to reduce the serious effects of air-pollution, the government hopes that a well organised metro system will convince the inhabitants of leaving their cars at home. It was inaugurated in 2001, and has greatly improved the Athenians’s way of life. Taking the metro, which operates from 05:30 until 24:00, is definitely a better option than going by car or getting yourself stuffed in a way too crowded bus. A ticket costs 0.80 cents. The network is nevertheless still been enlarged. The central station is located at Athens’s central square, Syntagma. There are only 3 lines which are very helpful for central transportation in the town:
Line 1 (M1 – ISAP): Piraeus – Kifissia unites the port of Piraeus and the northern suburbs of Athens via the town centre.
Line 2 (M2 – Attiko Metro): Agios Antonios – Agios Dimitrios unites western and southern Athens.
Line 3 (M3 – Attiko Metro): Monastiraki – Doukissis Plakentias – International Airport unites the town centre with the northern suburbs (Halandri and Doukissis Plakentias stations) and the International Airport.
There are several taxis in Athens, they are relatively cheap in Athens. All taxis are yellow and equipped with a metre displaying the fare. Check Taxis The yellow taxis of Athens can be found anytime anywhere. The interesting thing about the Athenian taxis is the fact one can be picked up by a taxi while there already is a passenger in it. Every passenger will be charged the fare shown on the meter.The minimum charge shown by the meter is 1.00e. The fares always depend on the traffic and time of the day.Note that taxi meters in Athens have two rates - rate 1 applies from 5am till midnight, and rate 2, the double rate, from midnight to 5am. There is an extra fee when entering a taxi from a port, an airport, a rail station and a bus station.
The Suburban Railway (Proastiakos)
The Suburban Railway (Proastiakos) began being erected in 2002 and finished in 2004. It starts travel to/from Athens and the “Eleftherios Venizelos” Athens International Airport (with seven stops along the line), Athens and Corinth (84 km west of Athens - with seven stops along the line) and Corinth town and the “Eleftherios Venizelos” Athens International Airport (with eleven stops along the line). Upon completion it will unite Piraeus and its port to Athens, the airport and other large urban centres in neighbouring prefectures (Thiva, Chalkida, Loutraki).
The Tram works a fleet of 42 trams which serve 47 stations and it unites the centre of Athens (Syntagma Square)to the southern (coastal) suburbs. It retains 345 operators and has an average daily occupancy of 80,000. A ticket costs 60 cents. There are three tram lines:
Line 1 (T1): Syntagma – Palaio Faliro – Neo Faliro connects the city centre with the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
Line 2 (T2): Syntagma – Palaio Faliro – Glyfada connects the city centre with the coastal zone.
Line 3 (T3): Neo Faliro – Palaio Faliro – Glyfada runs along the coastal zone.
The use of the trolley is not a real need in the heart of Athens. All the best part and amazing sights of the town are within walking distance. There is huge network of buses that operates in Athens and its suburbs. They usually operate from 6 am until midnight, with the exception of some buses that operate 24 hours round between the town of Athens and Piraeus. The trolley works from 5 am until midnight. The Greek National Organisation (EOT) offers free maps with most of the itineraries. Tickets cost 50 cents and must be bought in the transport kiosk or in the several “"periptera”.