Hundreds of visitors flocked to see the interior of the Agia Sofia metro station in Thessaloniki during an “Open House” event on Saturday.
The city’s metro system is yet to launch its operation, but was among seventy-one public and private spaces of architectural interest that opened for the day as part of this year’s “Open House” tour event.
Among the visitors was the Greek minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Christos Staikouras. He promised to the crowd that Thessaloniki will have a working metro system before the end of 2024.
This is the 11th “Open House” event in Thessaloniki, envisioning to promote architecture to the general public.
The Agia Sofia metro station will be also open 10a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, accessible from both of entrances on the corner of Egnatias and Agias Sofias streets.
The long-delayed Thessaloniki metro project
Residents of Thessaloniki have anticipated the completion and operation of the metro system in the city for many years, as heavy road traffic is a persistent issue in the daily life of Greece’s second most crowded city.
The 3.5-billion-euro project was originally expected to open to the public by 2012. Construction began way back in 2006, but progress was delayed due to a series of important archaeological discoveries in the metro tunnels.
When completed, the metro system will extend 9.6 kilometers (six miles) and serve 13 stations.
“Our commitment remains unchanged. Thessaloniki will have an operational metro in the second half of 2024,” said the new minister Staikouras, accompanied by the Deputy Minister responsible for infrastructure, Nikos Tachiaos, the secretary of New Democracy’s parliamentary group Stavros Kalafatis, and VP & CEO of Elliniko Metro SA Nikos Kouretas.
Comprehensive plan for the improvement public transportation in Thessaloniki
AMNA reports that the minister was given a tour of the works and saw the project’s progress, while he also spoke with dozens of visitors who flocked to see the premises despite the rain and asked him questions about it.
“We are very near the completion of our target. This means that the justifiable doubt [among residents] about the timely completion of the projects is dropping. As political leaders, we are committed that all projects in Thessaloniki we will be on time,” Staikouras stated.
He added that there are ongoing efforts to improve public transportation in the city, with a further addition of 5 bus lines, a planned hire of 150 bus drivers, and the delivery of 110 electric buses expected in April 2024.