While its main purpose is transport, the stations house Greek artifacts found during construction of the system. The two lines (red and blue) were constructed largely during the 1990s and the initial sections opened in January 2000. The lines run entirely underground. The metro network operates a fleet of 42 trains consisting of 252 cars with a daily occupancy of 550,000 passengers. The Blue Line runs from the western suburbs through the central Monastiraki and Syntagma stations to the northeastern suburbs and covers a distance of 16 km (10 mi), It then ascends to ground level and reaches Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport using the Suburban Railway infrastructure and extending its distance to 39 km (24 mi). The Red Line runs from Aghios Antonios to Aghios Dimitrios and covers a distance of 11.6 km (7 mi). Extensions to both these lines are under construction, most notably westwards to Piraeus and southwards to the Old Hellinikon Airport East Terminal (the future Metropolitan Park). The spring 2007 extension from Monastiraki, westwards to Egaleo, connected some of the main night life hubs of the city of Athens, namely Gazi (Kerameikos station), Psirri (Monastiraki station) and the city centre (Syntagma station).
This network runs the original metro line from Piraeus to Kifisia and serves 22 stations, with a network length of 25.6 km (15.9 mi), a fleet of 44 trains and 243 cars and a daily occupancy rate of 600,000 passengers. The historic Green Line is set to be extended to Agios Stefanos, a suburb located 23 km (14 mi) to the north of the city centre, reaching to 36 km (22 mi) in length.
Suburban rail (Proastiakos)
The Proastiakós connects Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport to the city of Corinth, 80 km (50 mi) west of Athens, via the central Larissa train station and the port of Piraeus. The Suburban Rail network currently extends to a length of 120 km (75 mi), and is expected to stretch to 281 km (175 mi) by 2010. The Proastiakos will be extended to Xylokastro west of Athens and Chalkida.
The network consists of 300 bus lines and a fleet of 1,839 buses which span the entire Attica Basin. Of those 1,839 buses, 416 run on natural gas making up the largest fleet of natural gas run buses in Europe. Besides being served by a fleet of natural gas and normal buses, the Athens metropolitan area is also served by electric buses, or ILPAP, as the service is known. The Electric Buses of the Athens and Pireaus Region consist of 22 lines. The network operates a fleet of 366 trolley buses able to run on diesel in cases of power failure.
The tram network has a fleet of 42 trams which serve 48 stations, employ 345 people with an average daily occupancy of 80,000 passengers. This network runs from Syntagma Square to the southwestern suburb of Palaio Faliro, where the line splits in two branches; the first runs along the Athens coastline towards the southern suburb of Voula, while the other heads towards the Piraeus district of Neo Faliro. The Syntagma – Palaio Faliro – Neo Faliro line and the section Syntagma – Glyfada of the Syntagma – Voula line opened on 19 July 2004. The extension Glyfada – Voula opened in November 2007. Further extensions are planned towards the major commercial port of Piraeus,and the southernmost suburb of Vouliagmeni.
There is a plentiful supply of taxis in Athens. They are generally cheap and during rush hour, it is often considered normal to flag down a taxi when not more than one or two other customers are already in (although, officially, this is forbidden). Convention dictates that if the second passenger happens to be heading in a similar direction and the original passenger has no complaints (seldom if ever is this an issue), he/she joins the journey, and both passengers give the fare as they would if travelling alone.
Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport
Athens is served by the state-of-the-art Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport (AIA) located near the town of Spata, in the eastern Messoghia plain, some 35 km (22 mi) east of Athens. The airport was awarded the “European Airport of the Year 2004” Award. Intended as an expandable hub for air travel in southeastern Europe, it was constructed in a record 51 months costing 2.2 billion Euros. An express bus service is provided connecting the airport to the metro system and 2 express bus services connect the airport to the port at Piraeus and the city centre (Synyagma) respectively. Eleftherios Venizelos accommodates 65 landings and take-offs per hour via its 24 passenger boarding bridges, 144 check-in counters and 150,000 m2 (1,614,587 sq ft) main terminal with a commercial area of 7,000 m2 (75,347 sq ft) which includes cafes, duty-free shops and a small museum.
Railways, highways and ferry connections
Athens is the hub of the country’s national railway system (OSE), connecting the capital with major cities across Greece and abroad (Istanbul, Sofia and beyond). However, this system is not very extensive, due largely to geomorphological factors. Ferries departing from the major port of Piraeus connect to the numerous Greek islands of the Aegean Sea. There are two main highways; one heading towards the western city of Patras in the Peloponnese (GR-8A, E94) and the other heading to the north, towards Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki (GR-1, E75). From 2001-2004, a ring road toll-motorway (Attiki Odos) was gradually completed, extending from the western industrial suburb of Elefsina all the way to the Athens International Airport.