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Tolls for the center of Athens are not ruled out, says Transportation Minister UPD

The possibility to impose tolls for motorists to enter the center of Athens is under consideration, Transportation Minister Costas Karamanlis said on Monday. The option is seen as another measure to address the traffic problem in the downtown of the Greek capital that has dramatically increased in the last weeks.

“At the table is the possibility of paying tolls for entry to the center of Athens, a measure that is being imposed in some foreign countries,” Karamanlis told Skai FM.

He named it an “environment fee” citing the EU Commission quote “the polluter pays.”

However, the current problem in Athens is the endless metal-queues with thousands of motorists and commuters at the end of their nerves. The problem arose again last month, as less and less use the public transport means due to the pandemic and fleet of urban public transport means that does not move as frequent as they should.

Regarding the traffic ring – “daktylios” – he said that will enter into force as scheduled on October 25. The system was off in the last 1.5 year due to the coronavirus and the imposed lockdowns.

the minister added that hybrid vehicles, liquid gas, Euro6 will move freely without restrictions and he pointed out to a 50%-reduction to the licenses that were given green light to move freely in previous years. He did not even mentioned the free movement of electric cars as he did last week as there are only a few, if any.

As for the situation in the public transport means for the thousands of commuters each and every day, the Transport minister had actually nothing to say other than a vague “they are in a stage of adaption and very serious work is already being done to increase the number of buses.”

At the same time, the Minister of Transport, gradually announced the taking of other, additional, measures to address the traffic problem.

PS I suppose that a lot more needs to be done before one imposes toll fees for the center of Athens. Increasing schedules of buses, metro, urban train as well as a tram connection that operates from start to endpoint without modifications because one day this and the other day that.

But for the Greek conservative gov’t any short term “window solution” is linked to fines and fees. Improving infrastructure never comes to one’s mind.


Two days later, on Wednes, government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou dismissed the Transport Minister and his plans  for tolls in Athens saying “there are not such thoughts.”

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  1. I hate to point out the obvious, but toll booths cause traffic (as cars slow down to enter the toll). Plus engines on while in traffic add to both noise and air pollution. Is it successful in the other cities referenced?

    • No need for toll booths. In several European countries you pay the toll on-line and if you drive through without paying you are billed electronically. It is called EasyFlow!

  2. As usual, the responsibility is shouldered by the individual.
    “The polluter pays”? Have those responsible for the Agia Zoni II oil spill been brought to justice? What are the revenues generated from industrial polluters’ compensation to the state for their environmental impact? Hmmm…sounds like the polluter pays as long as it’s a few kilowatts of energy or a couple litres of gas; if it’s in the millions, they’ll get tax breaks instead. It pays to be part of the elite.
    And the corrupt government officials can keep right on pocketing more money for doing f*ck-all for their constituents, buying a fourth private jet they don’t need because it was a “good bargain”, while common people struggle to get by and pay environmental fees to get to their 9-5.
    What a joke…

  3. No mention of improving cycling infrastructure?? Athens lags miles behind other European cities for cycling. More cycle lanes and cycle roads are needed. Also banning cars from certain roads, removing parking spaces will also discourage driving. As the Dutch and other European countries found out, traffic only goes down when you make public transport and cycling faster and more convenient than driving. Athens also needs to improve and widen the pavements to encourage walking, which if done at the expense of parking spaces or roads would greatly help reduce traffic.