Commuters to pay according to length of journey under new scheme

A new smartcard system that will be installed on the public transport network in Athens will lead to passengers being charged according to the distance their journey covers, which will lead to some commuters paying less than they do now and others more.

Infrastructure Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis revealed on Wednesday that the 94-million-euro contract to install ticket barriers at 64 metro, electric railway (ISAP) and Proastiakos suburban railway stations, as well as turnstiles on buses and trolley buses, has been awarded to the Terna Energy-LG CNS consortium. The work is due to be carried out by 2016.

The ministers said that two types of e-tickets will be available to passengers. One will act as a top-up card, with commuters adding money as they go, while the other will contain a microprocessor and will replace monthly and annual travelcards. Passengers’ smartcards will be read upon entry into a station and upon their exit.

Chrysochoidis also addressed the issue of the stalled work on the Thessaloniki metro, where the consortium undertaking the project is asking for the terms of its contract to be changed. “Contracts cannot change because interests change,” said the minister, who accused the AEGEK-Impregilo-Ansaldo-Seli consortium of making “provocative excuses” for not progressing with the project, which was initially due to be completed more than a year ago.