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The first bicycle hire in the Athens suburb of Maroussi

01 April 2013 / 18:04:50  GRReporter
3429 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

From today onwards, the residents of the Athens suburb of Maroussi can move in the most ecological way - by bicycle, regardless of whether they have one of their own or not. 70 brand new bicycles have been installed at six locations in Maroussi. Anyone who wants to use them can take them from one location and return them to another.

GRReporter visited one of the places, where the bicycles have been installed, namely near the station of the electric train. The six points are in central locations, close to mass transport means, thus allowing people to choose to move by bicycle throughout the day or to combine it with a bus or with the electric train.

On the first day of the launch, half of the bicycles were already in use. New and shiny, they drew the interest of passersby who stopped to find out how they could use them.

The cost for one day is 1 euro; it is 3 euro for a week of use and 29 euro annually. Anyone who wants to use the bicycles, must first register him- or herself in the system. They can then take the bicycles, using the CycloCard card or the name, which they have entered into the system CycloName.

In addition to the station of the electric train, there are bicycles in Iroon Square, Agias Lavras Square, in front of the Municipality of Maroussi, in front of "Mimis Fotopoulos" cinema on Agiou Konstantinou Street and at "Neratziotisa" station of the electric train.

"The idea is good," said friends Nikos and Yiannis while looking at the information screen to find out how to use the bicycles. "However, we are worried that there are almost no bike lanes and the streets are not very suitable for riding a bicycle."

More men than women looked at the bicycles. They had even sparked the interest of people who passed by them, riding their own bicycles. They can also take advantage of the service by locking their bicycles next to the ones offered for rent.

Organizations promoting cycling emphasize the following arguments:

"The idea is great and we welcome it," Lina Hatzialeksiou, who is in charge of the association "Friends of bicycles" told GRReporter, adding, "The point is that it is better to make the relevant infrastructure before starting such programmes. They should start with small bicycle lanes that they will gradually make longer."

She points out that the main concern of the association is the safety of the enthusiasts, mainly because drivers in Greece are not used to driving carefully and protecting cyclists. "The people who rent bicycles do not have the experience and knowledge of the streets of Athens, which a cyclist has. We fear that the street traffic could hamper the programme."

The opinion of the association is that such initiatives are in the right direction, but it is necessary to take comprehensive measures to promote cycling.

"In Maroussi, many of the streets are quiet and others have been turned into pedestrian walkways. In Athens too there are many places that are suitable for cycling and offer interesting routes."

Here is Lina’s advice to the enthusiasts who are planning travel on two wheels: "To strictly observe the traffic regulations and to never forget that the drivers do not observe them. From that point on, it's all a matter of training and experience."

It is worth noting that although the website and the card operated flawlessly, no one answered the telephone during the day.

 

Tags: SocietyBicycle hireMaroussi
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