Getting an e-ticket on Athens transport ‘a challenge,’ says expert


As the government seeks to promote the electronic ticket to both Greeks and tourists alike, a watchdog has underlined the difficulties of navigating the capital’s public transportation system.

Tasos Makris, an IT consultant and a member of the Usability Observatory, says that actually acquiring a ticket is one of the biggest challenges of the new electronic system.

“The process for issuing electronic tickets creates delays and leaves a lot of room for confusion,” says Makris, author of a lengthy report submitted in late January to the Athens Transport Organization (OASA) that includes recommendations for making the system more user-friendly.

Among the more confusing features of the newly introduced system noted by the expert is the fact that ticket dispensing machines still only accept cash payments, and the slot for a credit or debit card has nevertheless been activated with a flashing light. Also, when a machine has run out of change, it simply returns the cash without providing an explanation.

Makris also takes issue with the vocal commands, which “serve no functional purpose for the visually impaired and are just noise when they are all working at the same time.” Meanwhile, most important command, “insert money,” does not appear in writing, thus overlooking people with hearing difficulties.

Last week OASA employees distributed thousands of electronic tickets for free to commuters at the capital’s busiest metro stations in an awareness-raising campaign. Electronic barriers at most stations, however, have yet to be activated.