ATHENS – A new electronic pass scheme designed to end fare dodging on Greece’s Metro and transport system is working, officials said, although electronic barriers are working at only six of 60 stations across the capital city.
That’s by design, authorities said, as part of an extended pilot plan but implementation had seen near-chaos and long lines at stations where machines that used to dispense paper tickets were mostly out of use and people had to queue at windows to get the new e-tickets.
Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis said all the barriers will be in use by the end of February but the scheme has seen various stages delayed for months in switch-over from a system using paper tickets that had to be validated but without barriers. That allowed anyone to enter and use the system for free unless being caught by inspectors.
Speaking on state broadcaster ERT, Spirtzis denied allegations that the failure to properly activate the new system has taken cut into revenues and claimed that more than 400,000 smart card e-tickets, which can also be purchased online, had been bought compared to 250,000 monthly passes previously.
So many weren’t paying the 1.40 euros for paper tickets good for 90 minutes that STASY, the company that operates the capital’s metro, electric railway and tram systems, had losses in 2015 of 78.2 million euros ($100.7 million) from 36.4 million euros ($39.07 million) the year before Kathimerini reported.