SYRIZA’s Free Rides Cost Greek Metro Millions of Euros

FILE - A man walks up the stairs at the entrance of a closed metro station in Anbelokipi district of Athens during a 24-hour strike by Athens Metro workers on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Free rides for all users of the Greek capital’s underground Metro system in 2015 when capital controls were imposed by the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA – and for the unemployed – cost millions of euros in losses.

Those have amounted to more than 150 million euros ($166.42 million) for the free passes for the jobless alone for the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA.) That policy also began in the summer of 2015 as then-Premier Alexis Tsipras was trying to show sympathy for people hard hit by austerity measures he continued after vowing to stop them.

The report said the government didn’t subsidize the system for the losses that were also growing before barriers were erected to keep out fare evaders who routinely could ride for SYRIZA was ousted in July 7 snap elections by New Democracy, whose new Deputy Transport Minister, Yiannis Kefalogiannis said will talk to the Labor Ministry about the problem as reports said switching to an electronic ticket system has cut into the problem of people not paying to ride although they can still quickly move through the barriers if the person ahead opens them with a valid ticket.