ATHENS – After fare cuts failed to boost passenger traffic, increases in Greek public transport taxes mean the cost of tickets will go up again.
Tickets will go from 1.20 to 1.40 euros while reduced fares for pensioners and others eligible will go from 60 to 70 euro cents but the time they are good will go back to 90 minutes from 70 minutes. Monthly travelcards will continue to cost 30 euros (15 euros for reduced-price ticket users).
Public transport companies had to absorb the hike from September to December, which sources told Kathimerini cost two million euros ($2.19 million) because the Infrastructure and Transport Ministry was late in implementing the Finance Ministry’s decision, with a major impact on the companies’ finances.
The system of buses, subways and trams is also being hit by continued fare evasion with plans to eventually install barriers to prevent it on the metro.
If the rise in fares brings in more money though it won’t subsidize public transport but into the government’s general coffers for other uses, reducing money for maintenance and other necessities.
The government of the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and its partner, the pro-austerity far-right Independent Greeks (ANEL) also will cut state funding to public transport by 14 million euros ($15.36 million) on top of a previous 58 million euro ($63.63 million) made by a previous New Democracy-PASOK coalition.
If the requests for extraordinary funding of 29 million euros ($31.81 million) for OSY (buses and trolleys) and 11 million euros ($12.07 million) for STASY (metro and tram) are turned down, their operations will be put at risk, the newspaper said.
Public transport also took large losses when the government decreed free travel from June 29-July 12, the first two weeks capital controls were in place, losing the system another 9.5 million euros, some $10.42 million.