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Getting around the Games

A new discount pass will cut down on transportation costs for those visiting Athens this August.
Image: Tram car
A new tram car makes its way during testing in Athens on Tuesday, June 15, 2004. The 35 new electric-powered trams are scheduled to be in service in July, and will be one of the main transportation systems for spectators during the Olympic games. Petros Giannakouris / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A $12 weekly pass that can be used on all of Athens' public transport system is likely to become the bargain of the Summer Games.

It's a deal in a city where a cup of coffee could cost more than $5.50 - provoking Bank of Greece officials to call for a 10 percent price reduction on goods and services during the games.

Looks like the Ministry of Transportation listened.

The weekly pass will be valid on buses, trolleys, electric rail and brand new transport links from the suburban rail to the subway, which can be taken all the way to the airport. It can also be used on the new tram that travels to Olympic venues and beaches south of the city center.

Not all transportation news is good

The crucial extension of the Athens subway system, which will link the trains with the airport, will begin operating at the end of July—just two weeks before the start of the Olympics.

But once the games end, the subway link to the airport will be interrupted for up to six months to add another station to the northern suburb of Aghia Paraskevi, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said Monday.

Apparently, in the government's haste to link the subway to the airport, the suburban station wasn't constructed. The result is that Athenians who have been asked to grin and bear the inconvenience of the works until the Olympics are being asked to be patient until next year. And since plans call for the subway to be extended west of the city center, the frustration will likely continue until at least 2007.