Deal signed for smart cards on public transport

Commuters in Athens will be able to swap their paper tickets for smart cards similar to those used on public transport systems in other European cities in December 2016.

The Athens Urban Transport Organization on Monday signed a contract with the LG-Terna consortium for the provision of the new system, which will see passengers on all modes of transport use cards that can be swiped over electronic readers.

Commuters will be able to load credit onto their contactless smart cards ahead of their journeys or pay for specific fares, including weekly or monthly travelcards. New ticket machines will be installed at stations, where passengers will have to swipe their cards when they leave as well as on entry, and on board buses, trolley buses and trams.

In a related issue, an amendment passed through Parliament before Christmas allows 287 Athens metro workers whose short-term contracts expired in 2010 to be rehired. The hiring of 210 of these workers shortly before the general elections in 2009 was the subject of an investigation that led to public administration inspector Leandros Rakintzis uncovering several irregularities.

The amendment was approved by both governing parties as well as main opposition SYRIZA.