ATHENS – Unable to keep up with demand from passengers flocking buses even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Athens Transport plans to hire 655 personnel with fast-track procedures and lease up to 300 buses, no more than 10 years old.
The aim is to have more frequent runs and avoid overcrowding at the time of the pandemic, a Transport Ministry official told Kathimerini, with The Hellenic Association of Travel & Tourist Agencies proposing using mostly empty tourist buses as well.
Athens Transport could also use up to 200 buses, and 550 drivers, from the regional intercity bus service (KTEL), which, like similar ones across Greece, is run as a cooperative of private bus owners, the report said.
The idea was in a letter sent to ministries overseeing public transportation with concerns about the virus spreading in places where people can't keep a safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart and where not everyone is wearing a mask as is required.
The association is also asking for the abolition of the KTEL intercity bus monopoly on partnerships with the private sector in covering transportation needs, it was said.