It is a paradox to see so many people waiting at the bus stop for the coveted means of transport to the city of Rhodes. It’s paradoxical because all these people are waiting with money in hand for public transport. However, greater than the shortfall of an urban transport company is the suffering of visitors to the island, who, voluntarily or not, are forced to rent a car, accentuating the intensity of traffic on the roads. The most tragic thing is the fact that there are still RODA buses at the station stop today, for lack of seasonal drivers, whose recruitment is not yet complete.
Organizing all this information and searching for answers, it is fair to remember 20 years of surveys on the profile of visitors to Rhodes and their level of satisfaction with the destination. At that time, 20 years ago, surveys had highlighted urban transport as the island’s major problem. The problem was the regularity of the routes. For the record, I note that this pioneering research was carried out by the Dodecanese Society for Development and Progress (DETAP), in collaboration with the Scientific Group of Tourism and the Dodecanese Chamber.
The photo, with which I accompany this article, shows the image of the morning at the bus stop in front of the Kallithea Mare hotel, on the Rhodes – Faliraki line. The photo was taken a few days ago and counting the people standing at the stop waiting for the bus, we find the number of 41 people. That is, 2/3 of the capacity of an entire bus (excluding bellows) is at just one of the 21 hotel stops on that particular line (Line 40).
The stops on this particular line are more numerous, however I distinguish 21 stops which are located in front of hotels in the area of Reni, Kavourakia, Kallithea, Ammoudon and Faliraki. At each of these stops, from the Princess Flora Hotel to the Apollo Beach Hotel, many people are waiting for the bus to Rhodes Town.
The buses fill up at the first stops, then the rest of the visitors are forced to wait for the next and the next route. The wait at the bus stop is long. At bus stops, Rhodes loses its glamour, indignant visitors take to the streets, wave to the appropriate vehicle to transport them, anxious not to waste any more time on their precious vacation.
In talking to hoteliers on this line, they told me that customers in their reviews only complain about the regularity of rides. Regarding the quality of the transport service, they are completely satisfied. This means that public transport personnel are doing their job properly.
Regular visitors to Rhodes are well aware that to avoid the hassle they have the immediate choice of a taxi. They coordinate in small groups
of four or seven (with the new vehicles) and call a taxi for their comfortable transportation. The others choose to rent a car, which leads to an increase in the traffic problem in the city of Rhodes.
In this whole process, we take for granted the unimaginable suffering of the hotel employees, who are also waiting for the same bus to return home.
I note here that the Faliraki – Rhodes – Faliraki line is served by the RODA and KTEL companies. The two have agreed that their fleet will move, every week, alternately morning and afternoon. A week in the morning RODA, a week in the morning KTEL. Peak hours are specific. Above the transport project and above the profit of each of the two companies is the place. Therefore, for peak hours, both companies must be supported.
At this stage, we cannot ignore the fact that the recruitment of seasonal contract drivers from RODA is not yet complete. The drivers should have been hired from the beginning of April, so that the entire bus fleet would be on the roads, serving tourist traffic in all lines of responsibility of the urban transport company. Consequently, even the municipal roller coaster, the attraction with high financial returns, remains at a standstill due to lack of drivers.
At the end of May, professional drivers having reached an agreement with tourist agencies for coaches and minivans, where to find the 36 drivers from the opinion to cover RODA’s needs?
Was it a lack of organization? Was it a lack of control by RODA’s advertisers? What is certain is that the announcement for the recruitment of seasonal employees was launched two months late and without taking into account the additional delay in finalizing the process due to the national elections. The whole situation has created negative effects on the general image – the quality of life and holidays on the island.
How is it that all these years we have gained such deep knowledge about the transportation problem in Rhodes Island and yet the problem remains unsolved and more and more visitors are led to choose the rental car , thus aggravating the circulation problem?
Where has the organization gone?
My approach is within the framework of the series of articles to understand the causes that lead to traffic chaos in the city.