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Free transport in Athens until banks re-open

[ATHENS] Public transport will be free in Athens for a week to ease difficulties created by the closure of the banks and a rush on petrol stations, Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis said Monday.

Locals and tourists will be able to ride buses, metro trains and trams for free in the country's capital and surrounding suburbs as soon as the decision is officially published, which is likely to be on Tuesday.

The offer is set to last until July 7, when in principle the banks will re-open.

As Greece teetered on the edge of default this weekend, anxious drivers queued at petrol stations, with fuel sales up 20 per cent on the previous week, according to the Greek union of petrol station owners.

"There is enough petrol... The lives of tourists in the urban centres, the peripheries or the islands will not be disrupted," the economy and tourism ministry said, amid fears the crisis would hit the tourism industry.

Grigoris Stergioulis, CEO of the biggest oil company in the country Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), told ANA press agency that "the refineries are working as normal and supply is fully assured, we have oil reserves for several months."

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Sunday announced a series of capital controls and closure of the banks until after a referendum on July 5 on a new cash-for-reforms deal with Athens's international creditors.

The move came after a breakdown in last-ditch negotiations with the eurozone's 18 other members, which sowed panic in Greece and sparked a run on cash machines before a possible "Grexit".


Read more on the Greek crisis here

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