By Luc Keller student Urban Planning and Human Geography at the University of Amsterdam
First week in Athens! I am doing research about the decisions in mode of transport by commuters in Athens. I will write a blog about my observation of the mobility and the urban planning in Athens. First, I would like to share the popularity of the trolleybus and cycling in Athens with you. I found it very interesting to see the popularity of the trolleybus here in Athens. There are many trolleybuses running in the city center, they are also more crowded than the normal buses. This is interesting because in most European cities the trolleybus has disappeared as a mode of transport.
Back in the 80’s the trolleybus became very popular in European cities. For example, Nancy (France) and Arnhem (the Netherlands) became cities where the trolleybus, even today, is a dominant mode of transport. The trolleybus had the advantage that it is cheaper and environmentally friendlier than normal buses (to ride on electricity instead of fuel). However, due to the increase of the private car use the trolleybus became less popular in European cities. Therefore, in many European cities the trolleybus disappeared. Here in Athens, I was surprised about the popularity of the trolleybus.
Second observation is the slight popularity of cycling in Athens. I already saw and spoke to some people who commute on bike. However, they also say that cycling is still very dangerous because of the lack of cycling lanes and car drivers and motorists that are not used to cyclists in the traffic. Therefore, many cyclists use the footpath instead of the roads, which is indeed dangerous for the pedestrians. Furthermore, I have already seen a couple of groups who do a cycling tour to discover Athens by bike (see for example: http://www.meetinathens.eu/). In this way, the bicycle as a mode of transport is becoming more visible in the city center. I hope that in the future, the bike will be more popular as a mode of transport in Athens!