Fare increases fuel protests

Public transport workers objecting to the government’s plans to streamline debt-ridden state companies are to intensify their action this week with stoppages and other protest actions in the capital. Workers on the Piraeus-Kifissia electric railway (ISAP) and the Athens metro are to hold a four-hour work stoppage from noon today while the tram, bus and trolley bus services will be suspended between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. ISAP employees are also planning work stoppages from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow and Wednesday and a 24-hour strike for Thursday. Meanwhile employees of the Athens public bus company (ETHEL) will today disable ticket validating machines on buses to protest plans to raise prices by up to 40 percent from February 1. Tickets for one journey will rise to 1.20 euros while multiple-journey tickets – good for 90 minutes from the time they are validated – will cost 1.40 euros. A union spokesperson told Skai: «We asked the government to allow commuters to travel for free on strike days. If the government won’t take action, we’ll do it ourselves.»