The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Athens Strike Updates and Advice on Getting Around

Travel Tips, What's New — By Paige Moore on December 30, 2010 at 9:39 am

The Bad and Ugly

A 24 hour strike has been called by union workers of several divisions of transportation, including air traffic control and public transport. Banks, waste management, and mass media are also exercising their rights; a demonstration was held at the freshly renovated Pediou tou Areos Park – the reopening just celebrated a few days ago.

Oh, and a small bomb went off in the Athens Courthouse.

No one was injured and me, sitting at my computer, am blissfully unaware of anything amiss. No sirens,  no shouting, no buildings burning, but all the same I do have the task of getting home in front of me…and with transportation strikes planned for January 1 for metro and tram, then the city bus on the 3rd, 5th, and 10th, it’s likely anyone trying to get out of Athens will find themselves in gridlocked traffic.

If you have a flight, check the website of your carrier for up to the minute results on flight statuses, or call 3530000 for an automated flight status report from Venizelos Airport.

Olympic Air’s website can give you the “weather report” should you not find what you’re looking for.

The Good

Something important to note is that the Athens Metro timed their strike today from 5am to 9am, then again from 9pm until the last running trains around midnight. In other words, you can’t be certain that because there’s a 24 hour strike, you won’t be able to get on a train. Lately the strikes have been changing up to the minute, so don’t be overly optimistic OR pessimistic. It’s likely something is different than what you heard.

For the rest of you, including those of you who are biting your nails because you’re due to arrive in Athens sometime this month, I’m offering the four most dependable services I know for private transportation, as promised. All of the below are knowledgeable, professional, and highly rated by travelers on other commentary-based websites such as TripAdvisor and CruiseCritic.com. The cost is higher than hailing a cab, but you’re guaranteed to have an ally who speaks your language and has it in his own best interest to get you where you need to go. They’ll even tell you stories about Greece in the traffic jam.

Private Greece Tours, Nikos Loukas – 693 220 3196

Athens Tours, Vassilis Vassalos -694 220 0299

Spiros Taxi Tours, Spiros Halkides – 694 428 5686

George’s Taxi, George Kokkotos – 697 443 0678

If you’re dialing these numbers from an international phone, you must add the country code +30 before the number.

From the US: (01130) and then the Greek phone number. From Australia, (001130) and Europe (0030)

Feature image of the trash pileup due to the garbage strike courtesy of Tilemahos Efthimiadis via Flickr

Tags: Athens, December 2010, Private tour providers, Public Transit, Strikes

    3 Comments

  • nikos says:

    Are we living in the same country? There was no air traffic controllers strike, in fact they never even called one. The civil aviation employees called a strike last week but it was ruled illegal by a court the next day. Read about it from someone who knows at livingingreece.gr/strikes.

    Also there was also no metro strike today. Read the news or don’t advise other people.

  • Aρης says:

    Are we reading the same article? “union workers of several divisions of transportation, including air traffic control and public transport” is the terminology.

    Readers are only interested in getting to and from the airport not which subset of unions are striking (EEEKE, Greek Air Traffic Controllers; OASA, Athens Urban Transport Authority (ETHEL airport buses); OSYPA, Civil Aviation Employees; or even PAME port blockades and the dozen plus unions representing ferries and ships). It only takes one.

    The civil aviation employees strike was appealed and until this afternoon presented as an alert on Olympic Air’s website. This article states, “Lately the strikes have been changing up to the minute, so don’t be overly optimistic OR pessimistic. It’s likely something is different than what you heard.”

    Detailed follow-through contact information presented here is exactly what travelers need: exact phone numbers, the names of specific professional persons, and how to dial from overseas.

    Finally, via Nile Guide Athens’ Twitter account (@PaigeInAthens) travelers have been advised to follow the best current news feed specifically for strike information: @strikeinformer

    Nice to see the competition reads Nile Guide ; )

  • Tilemahos Efthimiadis says:

    There is a hidden suprise in the featured photo….. a Motorcycle in the trash!! That’s how bad the situation was. You park you motorcycle and the next day it’s covered with trash.
    Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/telemax/5264856904/

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