ATHENS – With anarchists on a rampage in Athens and new electronic ticket machines being vandalized, Greek police will take over security in the capital’s Metro system and ISAP railway stations.
That was part of an agreement reached between the Citizens’ Protection and Transport ministries under which the police will put 200 officers in the stations to guard commuters and public property in a system rife with pickpockets especially preying on tourists.
The police will also be assigned to cover security gaps that have been observed on the public transport system, Kathimerini said, but no details were provided as to what those were or what the risks involved.
The measure is expected to result in savings of 4 million euros for the cash-strapped Transport Ministry, and will give police some benefits too, including free transportation for its staff.
The initiative was announced a joint press conference given by Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis and Citizens’ Protection Minister Nikos Toskas, a day after unidentified vandals damaged new electronic ticket machines at the Panepistimio metro station in central Athens, another in a line of attacks on the equipment.
It takes an average of five days to repair the machines with officials fearing the damages could encourage riders not to buy the new electronic tickets since barriers wouldn’t be working as well, allowing free entry to some stations.