The most popular work to become a reality in the port city of Thessaloniki, along with the Metro, is the sea-based public transportation network, which will boost the tourist economy of the city as well as enable its residents to move quickly and cheaply to their destinations.
The seven little boats are now finally available to the five municipalities of the Thessaloniki and Central Macedonia Prefectures, and should everything go as planned, the whole project will come to life in 2013.
The basic lines to be serviced by the public boats will include four stops and will connect the city centre with the municipalities of Kalamaria and Thermaikos, covering thus, a distance of eight nautical miles. The stops are: Eleftheria Square, Music Hall (Megaro), Marina Kalamarias and Perea.
The lines will operate every 15 to 20 minutes and the distance Perea-Eleftheria Square is estimated to last about 40 minutes. The ticket price is estimated to be about 2 or 2,5 Euros.
The boats have a capacity of 200-250 passengers and the total cost for their purchase was about 7 million Euros.
Within the following semester, the Municipality of Thessaloniki needs to speed up the procedures of announcing the contest to the private bodies interested in routing the boats, and completing the final studies on the construction of the small docks and the stops.
Once private bodies express their interest in the project, the stops can be built within the next nine months, according to former Transportation Minister and president of the Judge Committee of the architecture competition, Mr. Spyros Vougias, who first introduced the idea of a sea public transport network in 1986.