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All aboard for Ayia Napa... if you can get a seat
ON A relatively quiet Friday afternoon, passengers at Nicosia’s Solomou square bus terminal were already seated twenty minutes before departure for Ayia Napa on a route that has proved very popular this summer.
The last bus on weekdays, including Fridays, leaves at 6.30pm but bus drivers sometimes need to call in extra buses because so many are left behind on the last scheduled run, a part-time bus driver told the Sunday Mail. “But then it takes a while for the next bus to come,” he said.
The bus driver manning the Friday 5.30pm bus to Ayia Napa said he had just done the 4pm route to Nicosia and it was so busy that they used three buses. Buses can sit 55 passengers.
The previous weekend was chaos, said teenager Mary Christodoulou who was back at the bus stop for more punishment. It was right before the biggest holiday period of the summer, when the capital – Nicosia – empties and locals spend days by the beach.
Mary had tried and failed to get the 5.30pm bus that Friday, barely managing a seat on the one an hour later.
Intercity Buses, the company offering public transport routes between cities, offers extra routes on the weekend from June until the end of September but regular bus user Anna, 22, says it’s not enough.
Anna – who uses buses to travel around Cyprus says that sometimes she has cancelled a daytrip to Larnaca because even though she showed up 30 minutes before she still did not manage to get a seat. “Basically, you can’t make appointment to go somewhere,” she said. “And people push you to get inside.”
Anna is a student from Poland and she said there was no point buying a car for a year’s stay.
She said the service was nice but “you’re not sure if you’re going to get a seat”.
Last Friday, a constant stream of people – mostly tourists, university and school students, filled up almost all remaining seats by departure time but no one was left behind.
However, only a handful of people would manage a seat at the following two stops: the APOEL football club at the end of Makarios avenue and the one by the Nicosia general hospital.
Sitting in the back of the bus for the 6.30pm bus, local students Maria, Marilia and Ioanna – all aged 17 – said they use the bus regularly to get to Ayia Napa for the weekend. “We don’t have a ride,” Ioanna said, although she was getting a car as soon as was eligible for a driver’s licence on her 18th birthday.
The other two girls said they weren’t sure they would get car. On the one hand having a car was more convenient but on the other hand using the bus means you don’t worry about parking or drinking, they said.
School students go for free, a privilege they share with some pensioners, children under the age of 12, and soldiers. For the rest, tickets are cheap with a one way ticket costing €3 on most routes inter-city routes.
For 27-year-old Polish tourist, Maciek, driving is harder because of the left-hand side system and “Nicosia’s narrow streets”. On a visit last year, Maciek rented a car but he says driving confused him. Also, the bus is cheaper, he said.
On weekdays in the summer there are buses from Nicosia to Ayia Napa at 8.30am; 12am; 2.15pm; 3pm; 5.30pm; and 6.30pm.
On Saturdays and Sundays buses start half an hour earlier but there is a break between 10am and 4pm even though the last bus leaves later than on the weekdays at 7.30pm.
For more information, visit www.intercity-buses.com or else call 80007789.