The chaos is about to break out and commuters in Athens may see themselves using public transport means for free after Transport and Infrastructure Minister Christos Spirtzis ruled that the old paper tickets will be used only until the end of October and old paper monthly cards will no longer be issued after October 5th 2017.
The minister took this radical decision after the union of workers at fixed-track transport means (STASY) said they will stop issuing the new Smart Cards as of October 5th.
Athens Public Transport Means OASA issued a statement saying:
Following the order of Transport Minister Christos Spirtzis
- No paper monthly card will be issued as of 5. Oct 2017
- Only electronic tickets will be issued and validated by the end of the month
- Whoever STASY worker refuses to perform his duties and the sale of electronic tickets and cards will be referred to the Disciplinary board with the question of dismissal and at the same time to Justice.
Already on Wednesday evening, Minister Spirtzis threatened to fire the workers who had decided to stop issuing electronic cards and tickets. After the minister’s threat, the workers canceled their decision.
Speaking to newsit.gr, the chairman of STASY workers union, Lefteris Ranieris, said that the minister’s threat “terrified them”. “The problems remain, but we revoked our decision,” he said adding that the union will meet again later on Thursday.
Ranieris told Skai TV, that the 15 selling points were not enough for the issue of half a million monthly Smart Cards and that the system would still suffer from unsolved technical problems like tickets that cannot be validated and others. He added that there are 5 different software between the several ticket , cards and validation devices and that if these problems won’t be solved soon, commuters will suffer. He urged the STASY management and the Minister to record and solve the problems instead of threaten them.
The problems indeed remain. Commuters cannot obtain discount tickets, those using the blue buses only do not have options to purchase tickets unless they seek one of the selling points at Tram, Metro and Urban Train stations.
One commuter told a Skai TV reporter that he was not able to get a discount ticket at 60 cents “and so I will go around for free.”
I hope, the Transport Ministry will have solved the problems especially of the Smart Tickets by the end of the month, otherwise Athens public transport means will suffer revenue losses again.
I read somewhere that the transition period for old and new tickets in London was two years. In clever Greece it will be less than 9 months. The baby will be certainly Smart.
The only problem is that it is up to the ministry to solve the technical shortcomings. It is not a problem of ticket issuers or of commuters.