Cost of ferry travel goes up

Ferry ticket prices will be at least 7.4 percent higher as of today, when certain of the strict state regulations governing Greece’s coastal shipping market cease to exist. Third-class travel will cost 7.4 percent more – 4.4 percent of which will go to ferry companies, with the remaining 3 percent being diverted to a government fund to finance subsidized routes. This is the only category of tickets over which the government will retain control, while shipping firms will be at liberty to raise the price of other classes. Ticket prices last rose in May, by 5.3 percent. The government also obliges ferry firms to offer, as of today, 50 percent discounts to the inhabitants of small islands (with a population of up to 3,100), university students (from Sept. 1 to June 30), children aged 5-10, large families, the disabled, and war invalids. Children up to the age of 5 will travel free. Market deregulation was to have taken place in January 2004, but was brought forward after the September 2000 Samina shipwreck. But full deregulation will still have to wait two years, as Greece has not yet harmonized its law with EU legislation.

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