Volume 96, Issue 19
Tuesday October 1, 2002

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Cabbies going to school

ATHENS (AP) – Some Olympic sports seem simple compared with getting a taxi in Athens.

First there's strategy: getting the cab driver's attention. Then precision: yelling out your destination as the cabbie rolls by and decides whether to stop. Followed by agility: squeezing in with other riders.

And, for tourists and other newcomers, there's the final test of making sure you are not scammed.

"We are just small time con artists," admitted Lefteris Terzakis, head of the taxi owners confederation of Greece, who complained that bigger corruption was rampant in the country.

Organizers of the 2004 Olympics want to tame Athens' mean streets. They plan to create a hand-picked fleet of well-mannered, professional – and honest – cab drivers for the games.

"They will go through seminars. They will be informed about the behaviour they must have as professionals... simply to behave well to the customers," Terzakis told The Associated Press.

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2002 THE GAZETTE