Athens bus public transport company fined a ticket dodger with C72 euro for failing to have a valid ticket of €1.20. When caught by ticket controllers, the 31-year-old woman claimed, she was long-term unemployed and she had no money to pay for the ticket.
But in the country with 1.4 million unemployed, there are no legal arrangements to provide long-time jobless with ticket-free transport cards. Therefore the controllers fined the woman with 72 euro.
The jobless wrote to the company management of OASA telling her story: that she has been unemployed, that she covered food and other basic needs due to money she occasionally received by a relative and that furthermore, she has to take care of her disabled mother, who was also unemployed and received no benefits or had any other income source. The two women had outstanding rent debts for several months. The woman submitted to OASA also documents confirming what she was saying.
OASA didn’t not feel any sympathy with the woman and sent her a letter instead urging her to pay the fine within 20 days, otherwise it would be forwarded to the tax office, where it would automatically increase 10 times, that is it would become 720 euro!
To the support of the woman came the Metropolitan Social Clinic of Ellinikon. A social clinic that treats uninsured patients and where the woman receives treatment. The MSC appealed also to OASA however without success. “What’s the purpose that the public transport company activates its whole control and fine mechanism for a fine it will never collect?” the clinic stressed in its letter, appealing to OASA to “show mercy for two citizens who struggle to survive.” OASA didn’t bother to reply.
Of course, a ticket dodger should be fined. But how comes that the fine for a ticket of €1.20 is at €72? And according to which mathematical logic, a fine of €72 turns €720 if the payment delay is longer than 20 days?
Isn’t it time in this debt-ridden country with its broke citizens that the government pass some law to give ticket-free cards to the long-term unemployed and the poor?