New Democracy Shakes Up Greek Transport, SYRIZA Favorites

(FILE - Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Misinas)

ATHENS – Greece’s new ruling New Democracy will put some 30 bus drivers back to their former jobs after finding out the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA had given them cushy jobs in Parliament despite a shortage of staff for public transport.

That’s part of the new government’s plans to overhaul the capital city’s public transport system and will include restaffing ticket booths at major Metro stations where there are only machines that don’t offer tickets for senior citizens and where long lines developed.

The ticket booths were closed down by SYRIZA once the new ticket machines were installed but there aren’t enough machines and they have a time-consuming process that causes delays and frustration, especially during the heavy tourism summer season.

Deputy Transport Minister Yiannis Kefaloyiannis ordered the shakeup of the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) after finding the bus drivers were serving Members of Parliament with no report on what their qualifications were, and with most of the lawmakers they were working for bounced in July 7 elections won by New Democracy.

The ministry said that will also help alleviate staff shortages on OASA and that it’s also investigating transport workers claiming to be ill after a massive report that many said they weren’t well enough to do their jobs, said Kathimerini.

Kefaloyiannis met with the leadership of OASA to discuss initiatives that will improve the capital’s transport services, the paper said, including restaffing the ticket booths, including those now closed at the main station of Syntagma as well as those at Acropolis, Monastiraki, and the major train hub of Stathmos Larissis and better security will be provided for inspectors checking to see if riders have tickets although the new system has barriers.