OPINION

Quagmire for ferry tickets

The deregulation of coastal shipping and ticket prices will surely be publicly debated very soon. The summer has begun, but no one seems to know what the new situation will be regarding sea travel and ticketing under the new system. The shipping sector wants to abandon the current system of ticketing and adopt one more like the system used for air travel. That means the price of a ticket will depend on factors such as the season, the number of empty seats, destination and length of time ahead of the journey for which the ticket is purchased. The system sounds reasonable – for an airline traveler. However, coastal shipping is a different world and we cannot be sure how this new system will work in a country with so many islands. We must proceed carefully with this plan. For example, a decade after the introduction of privatized railways in Great Britain, the system is under intense criticism for its ineffectiveness and high costs both for passengers and the state, which subsidizes certain lines. A recent survey in the Guardian newspaper, which Kathimerini published yesterday, shows the confusion engendered by the «bewildering choice of fares» which change every day. No one knows what they are likely to pay, with 70 kinds of tickets subjected to 776 different conditions set out in 5,000 pages. The House of Commons transport committee’s report was «scathing,» said the Guardian. Even under the best planning and circumstances, a system that failed in Great Britain will not succeed easily here. Greece’s archipelagos are vital national treasures. Will we need Excel, a browser and 100 euros just to go to Tinos?