Transport due to get more costly

The cost of public transport is set to rise by up to about 10 percent early next year as the Transport Ministry seeks to combat the growing debt of the publicly owned companies that run the trains, buses and metro, sources said yesterday. The previous rise in ticket prices was last year but recently appointed Transport Minister Costis Hatzidakis appears to have inherited a series of public transport firms that are continuing to lose money and he needs to bring in extra income. The money owed by urban transport organizations is expected to reach almost 490 million euros by the end of the year. The Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) is the biggest debtor among public companies (also known as DEKOs) and will owe more than 1.1 billion euros by the end of this year. Meanwhile, workers on the Athens-Piraeus Electric Railway (ISAP) are demanding more hirings. They argue that there has been a 20 percent rise in the frequency of trains on the line since 2004 but there are now 140 fewer employees than three years ago.