Bus drivers told to avoid Exarchia on return to depot

Bus and trolley bus operator OSY has indefinitely banned buses from driving though parts of the Exarchia district in Athens when they do not have passengers on board, citing a spike in arson attacks against vehicles.

In a circular issued by the organization, drivers are instructed to avoid Eikostis Ogdois Oktovriou Street, from Alexandras Avenue to Halkondili Street, and Solonos Street, beginning from the crossing with Ippokratous to Triti Septemvriou Street.

The ban will apply for so-called empty routes – which out-of-service vehicles use to return to terminal stations and bus depots.

No-go areas for trolley buses will also be determined by authorities depending on the day, OSY said.

A similar, albeit short-lived, ban was also introduced in June after vehicles were targeted in repeated arson attacks.

OSY has reportedly made repeated appeals to the Athens Urban Transport Organization to examine a change in bus routes.

The Exarchia area has been the site of frequent conflicts between police, drug dealers and self-styled anarchists for decades

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