Residents and regular visitors will know the medium sized yellow bus that squeezes its way round the harbourside and through Chorio. For those who don’t, it provides an hourly service between Yialos, Chorio and Pedi all year round. Departures from Yialos are on the hour, from Pedi on the half hour. The first bus is at 8am, the time of the last one varies seasonally, currently 10pm but as late as 1 am in high season. In the off season there may be a timetable gap at 3pm while the driver takes his mealbreak. There’s a flat fare of €1.50 for all passengers and journeys.
This year the bus business is booming. Long term owner-driver Lakis has been joined over recent years by his son, which explains why they can manage more departures than previously. For 2017 Lakis Travel has arrived. There’s a second vehicle, a silver coach-seated one that is used for transfers and private hires, a travel agency on the harbourfront, and cars for hire.
The yellow bus was delivered with tinted film on the windows to cut down solar glare and keep the inside cooler. Over time this was defaced by children and eventually removed. The bus now features Contravision – externally applied adverts for local businesses that do the same job the solar film did, still allows passengers to see out, and provides Lakis Travel with some extra revenue. No doubt those visitors who think nothing on Symi should ever change between their infrequent trips to the island will complain, they’d probably prefer the green Mercedes minibus with rusted floor of 20 years ago.
One thing that few will object to is the standard of service, though. On Wednesday evening the yellow bus refused to start at 10pm. Just as the 11 or so passengers were resigning themselves to walking home, the driver announced smoothly that there would be a 2 minute delay while he fetched another bus. And within the two minutes, the silver Lakis Travel coach appeared, and took us off up the hill – admittedly via Yialos Square as it needed to be turned round because it was facing the wrong direction. Another Symi first – a relief bus!