Government sees red at train fare increases

Just one day after the railway company announced fare increases of up to 17 percent for its new, faster service between Greece’s two main cities, the government yesterday ruled out any price hikes. Transport Minister Christos Verelis said the increases announced by Hellenic Railways (OSE), which would have made first-class train travel between Athens and Thessaloniki pricier than the cheapest flights, were no more than «a proposal,» which was not acceptable. OSE then issued a statement saying, «The fare increases announced recently will be postponed.» Improvements to the line will lop 30 minutes off the journey, which will take the fastest trains four hours 30 minutes from Monday. OSE had announced a «quality surcharge» to up the first-class fare on the fastest trains to 69.3 euros, one way. The cheapest flights cost some 40 euros.