Traffic congestion in the greater Athens area over recent weeks, reminiscent of the 1990s before a new metro system and other major infrastructure projects came online, finally promoted the central government to announce measures this week.

Despite progress over recent decades in decentralizing decision-making from the central government to municipal and regional authorities, much of the traffic and mass transit jurisdictions in greater Athens – where roughly half of the country’s 11 million residents live – are still overseen by Cabinet ministers.

As such, the relevant transport ministry on Wednesday said a “traffic ring” will be reinstituted as of Oct. 25. In past years, this measure operated on an “odd-and-even” basis, whereby the last number on a vehicle’s license plate determined if entry into the traffic ring was allowed. Trucks, taxis and other commercial vehicles were usually exempt from the measure.

Nevertheless, details of soon-to-be reinstituted traffic restriction are still pending.

For instance, one certain exemption will be for electric vehicles. However, owners of hybrid vehicles are also demanding an exemption, whereas criticism has also emerged on social media by owners of Euro 6 emission standards vehicles.

One explanation for the heavy traffic on roadways is an unwillingness by many commuters to use mass transit amid a still ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,

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