Coastal shipping companies are cutting fares by as much as 40 percent, as Greeks take to the islands for their Easter holidays. The firms’ aggressive pricing policy aims at increasing passenger numbers during a period of financial crisis, so as to reap profits and offset the losses from last year’s drop in passengers. To this end, they have lower fuel prices and the certainty of subsidized routes on their side. Oil costs about $50 per barrel, against $150 last year, and there is a market of 100 million euros up for grabs for state-subsidized destinations. Already coastal shippers have cut many ticket prices by 15 to 40 percent as a test ahead of the summer period, when the same policy is likely to continue.