By Alexandra Kassimi
The operator of Athens’s fixed-track public transport system, STASY, appears well on the way to weaning itself off state subsidies as financial results for the year’s first seven months show profits of 5.9 million euros.
According to its budget, the operator of the Athens metro, the tram and the Piraeus-Kifissia electrical railway (ISAP) was expected to suffer losses of 18.8 million euros through 2013, which would have necessitated subsidies from the state. However, the picture emerging – up to end-July at least – points to estimated profits of 9 billion euros for the year.
Company officials are confident that by the end of the year STASY may represent a rare case of a fixed-track operator that is not dependent on state subsidies. They say that subsidies to similar companies in other European countries can amount to 30-40 percent of their operating costs.
Other than the positive results, it is also particularly encouraging for STASY that its budget had provided for an operating deficit of 10.9 million euros in the first seven months of the year. Instead, STASY achieved an increase in operating profits by 147.64 percent from the same period in 2012 and by 153.75 percent from the budget’s provision.
The containment of operating costs by the Greek capital’s metro and tram operator was the driving force behind the recorded profits, as expenditures shrank by just under a quarter (24.27 percent) from the January-to-July period last year. Reductions in salaries and in staff numbers limited spending and payroll expenses by 23.38 percent in the first seven months of 2013, amounting to 42.18 million euros.
Operating revenues declined by 4.06 percent to 72.44 million euros due to employees’ industrial action in January, as well as on the back of a general decline in passenger traffic and in advertising revenues.
Public transport experts have recorded a major drop in traffic in the past few years, with just 684 million passengers in total on the metro, tram, buses, trolleys and the electrical railway last year, down from 851 million passengers in 2009.