THE ATHENIAN TRAM
In July 2004, a few days before the opening ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, the tram once again became part of the life in the Greek capital. Functioning at the edge of technology, it provides modern transportation and stands out for the comforts affording to passengers. As a valuable link of the global philosophy for the development of light-rail public transportation, the Athenian tram travels through nine municipalities in southern Athens, operating in conjunction with other types of urban transportation and with direct connections to the metro and the railway commuter train.
Europe's most scenic train ride
The Athens tram route ranks among the most scenic in Europe, since a long stretch of the network's 26 kilometres runs parallel to the Saronic Gulf, while another stretch crosses the historic center of the capital. Moreover, the tram travels by numerous Olympic facilities, a customary destination for international tourists. Boarding from any of the coastal hotels or from the city centre, Greek and international visitors use the tram for their outings, heading towards tourist hot spots such as the nightclubs lining the southern coastal strip or trendy suburbs such as Glyfada or Nea Smyrni, equally popular for shopping or a dip in the blue waters of any of the local organized beaches. Many passengers ride the tram for a nice tour sitting comfortably inside one of its cars or in order to visit some of the nearby historic or cultural sites or to hop to the garden cafe at Zappion. The tram also services the coastal marinas, but also significant sport and conference facilities, such as the Peace and Friendship Stadium, the former Fencing Centre and the Karaiskakis Football Stadium.
Serving 47 stations at an average speed of 24 kilometres per hour - one of the highest world wide - the Athenian tram connects the city centre with the coastal strip and the southern suburbs via three lines:
1. SEF - Glyfada in 32 minutes.
2. Syntagma-SEF in 43 minutes and
3. Syntagma-Glyfada in 53 minutes
It is also very practical for shorter hops at a reduced fare.
Through its "cinematographic" windows, passengers have a unique opportunity to enjoy a relaxing and scenic ride, since the area along the tram rails has been beautifully landscaped with greenery. The tram network is slated for an expansion shortly to the coastal suburb of Voula - where it will service a significant infrastructure - while it is anticipated that by 2010 another expansion to Piraeus city centre and the local harbour will be available to service thousands of travelers to and from the Greek islands.
Finally, through cooperation with tourist agencies, the tram offers the opportunity for private transfer and tours on demand. Boasting 60,000 loyal passengers, a number that rises significantly during the summer months, the tram dominates mass transportation in southern Athens; because the tram is not just a means of mass transportation, it is a philosophy of its own: the tram is a station in life!