"Penteli - Kiato a neighborhood…". Somehow that was the slogan when Suburban began his journey to bring Athens closer to peripheral areas. And to make the movement of passengers easier, but also to give the opportunity to those who have long wanted to decentralize, but their jobs did not allow them to leave the small town.
It was in September 2005, when the line to Corinth and along with the commuter were many who moved for a better quality of life. Others returned to their homeland, others made their holiday homes their main residence and others bought a house in the area, since at that time the banks were still lending for purchases. And the prices in the province were clearly cheaper.
Two years later the line was extended to Kiato. And the people who chose to make the change in their lives were growing. Itineraries often (every hour) and the distance close. Because if you put them down, the one hour and more that you "eat" in the traffic of Athens to go to work is the same time as coming from Corinth.
So, among those who took the road back, choosing to stay in the countryside and come daily to the suburban in Athens for work, I am also. I have been doing the Corinth-Athens route for ten years and whoever listens to it at the beginning may get a little shock (this "how do you fight it, my child", I do not know how many times I have heard it), but in reality it is not no feat. Or is it?
The small train society
Because I am an optimistic person by nature, I say to start my story with the romantic side of my daily journey. Because she also exists.
I lived in Athens for thirteen years and thank God, I know from good traffic jams. To be in the car, stuck in traffic and unable to escape. A scene that is extremely agoraphobic and absolutely stressful, until you get to work.
You do not have these with the suburban train. You start your journey in the morning, with a route that offers you wonderful images that calm you, such as the blue of the sea and the blue of the sky. Of the clear sky. If, again, you are drowsy, take a nap, without stress since your neighbor will wake you up when you arrive.
Why yes, at train, after so many years we have all become friends. The "company of the suburban". Friends who unexpectedly came into your life, with whom you share a part of your daily life and over time, you also share your problems, your worries and your joys.
And for those who wonder how you do not get tired of getting on and off the train every day, the answer is that with the company you have created, time passes without you realizing it. With conversation, laughter, and even board games. And woe - here we are - to those who sit next to us, because there are many of us.
The train is used daily (permanent passengers working in Athens) by more than 1000 people, from Kiato to Nea Peramo, which is also considered the suburban part. A large number, the truth is. For those of us who travel daily, there is the unlimited travel card, which in cost is not higher than the cost of gasoline, if you live in Athens and go to work by car. One or the other, in this piece.
The other side of the coin
Each currency has two sides. So does the suburban train. One side is the romantic, the beautiful. There is, however, the other one that often takes you out of your clothes and makes you shudder when you made the decision to do the ups and downs with the suburban train.
Incredible squash. You see videos from India for example that are on top of each other and from outside one in a pushing role trying to fit them all. Well, this is somewhat the situation on the suburban daily, on domestic routes (Piraeus - Airport and tubalin) during peak hours.
One is on top of the other, the situation is desperately unbearable and dangerous for your physical integrity. It may seem excessive, but not once or twice, passengers are on the verge of fainting from suffocation. And unfortunately, the situation not only does not improve, but worsens, when it comes to itineraries, as the icing on the cake.
Another painful story for the commuter passenger. Delays… that can be short to long. And the problem is that in the second case you have no information. You have nowhere to go and so you wait for the train to arrive, with the anxiety that you will be delayed - unknown how much - in your work.
And if you wait at a station, like Kato Acharnai in winter, you are exposed to rain and cold, since you have nowhere to protect yourself. And no, the odyssey of delay does not stop here: if the internal route of the Airport is late, there are many times when the response to Kiato does not wait for you. And so you stay an hour behind to wait for the next route, because so you have nothing else to do and you say "let me kill my time waiting in Larissa or Ano Liossia".
Not to mention route changes, due to a problem that arose. There, to see inconvenience and delays. And there is always the case, the problem is delayed to be repaired and until then, you are forced to either take your car to come to Athens (hence extra costs), or to get a license, or to work from home, if there is this ability.
The truth is that as passengers we have addressed ook a few times to Train, to find a solution. The situation is desperately unbearable and the idea that you pay 150 euros a month (that is the value of the card for Corinth-Athens) to be upright and cramped, often makes you reconsider whether you did well to move.
In fact, almost every day, different scenes unfold, which sometimes make you laugh and sometimes you wonder: why are you torturing yourself like this?
The suburban races
Say hui, but I always liked to observe people. And on the train there are so many permanent travelers, that after so many years I have distinguished them into… tribes. The suburban races. So we have and we say:
The jumpers: If you think that it is difficult to get on the suburban train, you probably have not used it. Or you have not found a witness in a scene where the inspector "fights" him without a ticket. Although as a phenomenon it is almost daily. And every time there is a small or big episode, since the jumper also asks for the change, making a fuss.
In fact, we have witnessed him attacking the auditor, either verbally, or threatening to bring his company and slapping him, or physically. Of course, most of the jumpers are on the domestic routes in Athens, since there is never a check, while it is so crowded that even if it existed, it would not even make the route.
The grumpy: And if you do not have the whining in you, with the subtleties of the suburban train, at some point it will come out. But there are also those born, the grumpy ones who are to blame for everything. But everything. They do not like anything on the train. And why, my mother, do you use it and do not leave us alone?
The parties: After so many years, it makes sense to create different companies inside the train. Some small and some bigger. But you made all the noise. In other groups they talk and laugh out loud, in others they play board games…
The lonely: There are these types as well. What if we do the route for years? They prefer to sit alone and not participate in any company. Others read a book, others listen to music, others sleep or watch a movie. They rarely exchange a "good morning" with the other passengers and the only time we hear their voice is when the train is delayed.