Transport Ministry and OASA and clash over ticket penalties

The Minister of Transport Christos Spirtzis lashed out against the president and managing director of the Urban Transport…

The Minister of Transport Christos Spirtzis lashed out against the president and managing director of the Urban Transport Organization of Athens (OASA) Grigoris Dimitriadis, after the later proposed that the penalty of being caught without a ticket be changed from an infringement to a misdemeanor.

Mr. Dimitriadis explained in Parliament that “the aim is not to strictly punish some, but rather to inform society that urban transport must be sustainable and high quality instead of being wasted”. According to Mr. Dimitriadis, who spoke to Mega Channel on Thursday morning, OASA has consistently called for the penalty conversion, which was in place until 1994.

The Minister questioned the value of such a measure, as it means that anyone caught without a ticket could face three to five years imprisonment and “counter proposed” their execution instead. Mr. Spirtzis hinted that he would relieve Mr. Dimitriadis from his post, who stated that the ‘troika’ has made a similar proposal.

In his Thursday-morning appearance on Mega Channel, Mr. Dimitriadis claimed that Wednesday’s debate in Parliament was about “a vision to make the people embrace [public] transport and not penalize them”. It has been estimated that about one in three who use urban transport in Athens do not purchase a ticket, with an annual cost of about 50 million euros.

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