Red Tape Ties Up Fare Hikes

ATHENS – The government’s failure to appoint new managers for Greece’s public transport systems is reportedly holding up planned fare hikes.

Officials at the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) told Kathimerini the new appointments wouldn’t be in place until the end of the month, which could upset the country’s creditors who wanted more income from public transportation.

The coalition of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ Radical Left SYRIZA party and its partner, the pro-austerity Independent Greeks (ANEL) already is planning to siphon off any extra income for the country’s coffers and not to maintain the metro, buses, trams, trains and trolleys though.

 

The duration that a ticket for the Athens metro, ISAP electric railway, buses, trolley buses and tram is valid for is set to increase to 90 minutes as the cost of a regular full-price ticket rises from its current 1.20 euros ($1.29) to 1.40 ($1.50).

The government has said that the price hike was supposed to offset losses from the increase in Value-Added Tax on transport fares from 13 percent to 23 percent.

The system has already seen a 14 million euro However, OASA firms will have to find extra ways to to cope with the 14-million-euro ($15 million) cut in state funding on top of a previous cut of 58 million ($62.34 million) in 2014.

Public transport companies also had to absorb the impact of the government’s decision to allow people to travel on public transport for free in the first couple of weeks of the capital controls, from June 29 to July 12.

The move cost OASA an estimated 9.5 million euros ($10.21 million). Transport officials said the combinations of losses could jeopardize the continued operation of the system.