ECONOMY

OSE delays ticket price increases

Announcements concerning a ticket price hike and a revision of the route schedule by the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) have been postponed until the start of 2009, despite having been originally planned for the middle of December. The recent unrest in Athens and other Greek cities, the global crisis and the general mood faced by the government have led to the delay of the two issues which are aimed at helping to improve OSE’s financial status. A few days ago, it was announced that OSE and France’s Railways Service would cooperate in an agreement aimed at helping improve OSE’s safety record. According to sources, the Transport Ministry is planning to change train routes in a way that will not result in any cutbacks in the destinations served. There will be no place in Greece left without a train connection, said a ministry source. On the other hand, OSE’s revision of its pricing policy is one of its main goals in a bid to increase revenues. The gradual increase in ticket prices is expected to start as of February, at the earliest, but increases will not be across the board. The goal is for train fares to correspond to about 80 percent of the respective fares charged by long-distance bus companies by the end of 2010. Currently, that number stands at about 40 percent. The price hike on the faster Intercity trains is expected to be higher than that of tickets for regular trains. At the same time, OSE is working on creating monthly and annual tickets, while also introducing discounts for certain groups, such as students.