ATHENS – There was no word on whether they’d try to stop pickpockets who are infamous for plucking money and valuables on subways, but Greek police will be stationed at bus stops and metro stations to deter fare cheats and vandalism of electronic turnstiles.
The capital city’s metro system last year went to e-tickets and closed barriers to replace the old system of paper tickets without barriers but the new method allows people without tickets to quickly walk through a barrier once someone with a ticket has opened it.
Inspectors checking to see if people have been tickets – the fine is 60 times the 1.40 euro ($1.57) cost of the ticket – sometimes are accosted or face arguments – will be aided by the police who will protect them, said Kathimerini.
The cooperation between the police and the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) was agreed at the end of last year, and sealed with a joint decision by the Transport and Citizens’ Protection ministries.
Officers are to be assigned to the bus routes most favored by vandals, notably those running along Patission Street close to the anarchist stronghold of Exarchia where there are clashes between riot police and anti-establishment groups. Some police will be sent to metro stations to deter vandals who have tried to disable the electronic barriers and officers will also go on buses to look for people without tickets.
There wasn’t any explanation why the police were being transferred to the public transport duty at the same time there’s been a spate of violence and anarchist attacks on a number of targets around the capital city.