ECONOMY

Third try at OSE rescue scheme

By the end of summer, the government is expected to complete a plan aimed at getting the finances of the Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) back on track in a last gasp attempt to save the indebted transport company. The plan is being prepared for a third time, since previous plans to reform OSE by different governments were not implemented. OSE’S accumulated losses have exceeded 10 billion euros as it moves deeper into the red by 2.2 million euros every day. A look at OSE’s financial figures shows that it spends eight euros for every one it earns. On a yearly basis, OSE’s revenues total about 100 million euros but it pays out 360 million euros in interest payments and 400 million euros in salaries. The government is also preparing to table in Parliament a draft law that will set out the legal framework allowing the railway network to be contracted to private investors. Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry is examining upping OSE fares in a bid to boost its revenues, as announced by the previous government. Government sources have stressed the need for higher revenues and cutbacks in train routes to secure the future of the state-controlled company. The hikes could involve a threefold price increase on OSE’s more popular train routes, such as the Athens-Thessaloniki link. A reduction in train routes is also becoming increasingly likely, particularly in the Peloponnese, where a reduction of up to 60 percent may be implemented.