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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.

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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.

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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!

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1 thought on “The trolleybus and the bicycle in Athens.

  1. Celeste

    Hi Luc, I started filling out your survey some days ago but stopped it because it is about commuting and I am not working. I do travel 2 times per day from Marousi to Kifissia to pick up my child from school and I am using the bicycle for everything else. I go to the center of Marousi for groceries, take my daughter to places, go to my sports etc etc. As far as the bicycle, I also so an increase of bikes in my neighborhood. The Marousi train station even offers bikes for commuters. Before the summer, the main roads of my neighborhood were closed down for weeks and they were building bicycle paths. I was very enthusiastic because it is dangerous to ride the bike in Marousi especially with the children. (my oldest daughter has her own bicycle, the little one is in the bike seat behind me). I was looking much forward using these special paths in the future. Unfortunately, over the summer, the workers stopped. The roads are in an extreme chaos, materials lying everywhere, dangerous wires, gaps, etc. the neighborhood is in a great mess. According the municipality, there is no money to finish the work and so it is even more dangerous than before to ride the bike because now, there is less space on the main road. Walking is now impossible too because all the pavement has been broken open. So you may want to use this for your research. Even that there were more people cycling.. I see no one now here. Goodluck with your research !

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