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PM Mitsotakis: Upgrading Greek Public Transport a Government Priority

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PM Mitsotakis chairs video conference on course of coronavirus in Greece. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Dimitris Papamitsos)

ATHENS -- Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday expressed the government's determination to support the various means of public transport in order to improve the quality of urban transport, at a meeting held at the Infrastructure and Transport Ministry on Friday.

"It is not acceptable for citizens to wait far too long to move about in Athens and, when a bus or a train finally arrives, to be packed in together in conditions that create a great deal more congestion than we can permit during these times," he said.

He noted that the government has decided to immediately proceed with the supply of 300 buses and the hiring of 655 staff in public transport and to support the bus network with 203 vehicles and 550 bus drivers on daily basis via the redesigning bus routes and a partnership with intercity bus companies via public- and private-sector partnerships.

He repeated that the use of face masks to protect against the spread of the coronavirus on all public transport was mandatory "as it goes without saying that with the use of masks we protect ourselves, especially in a bus or a train."

Karamanlis: Everything to change with regard to public transport

The fast-track hiring of 655 employees in public transport and the immediate leasing of 300 modern buses up to 10 years old was decided during a meeting between Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday.

"The targets we set are specific and measurable. More staff, more and better vehicles and better services to the citizen," Karamanlis said, who also announced the upgrading of 15 trains on Athens metro line 1, the acquisition of seven trains for lines 2 and 3 in a period of three years and a tender for the supply of new buses for Athens and Thessaloniki. Specifically, for Athens the tender concerns 1,000 modern vehicles, with aim that the tender for the first 600 should be completed by November and for the first 300 to enter into circulation in Athens by the end of 2021.

"The prime minister honoured us with his visit today at the ministry and this is something that confirms his personal interest and determination to find solutions immediately," Karamanlis said.