August 30, 2018 / 12:34 PM / in 23 days

Athens bus tickets sales rise after scheme blocks free riders

ATHENS (Reuters) - Ticket revenues from buses in the Greek capital surged by up to 25 percent in the past month after the state-run operator clamped down on free riders by only letting passengers get on at the front.

Passengers board a bus from the front door in central Athens, Greece, August 30, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Greek public transport operator OASA previously estimated that one in three bus passengers sneaked in through the back doors and dodged the few inspectors on duty.

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“We hadn’t been optimistic that it (the front-door entry) would have been fully adopted. But it definitely beat our expectations,” said Georgios Glykos, head of the Athens bus operator OSY.

Preliminary results of a survey after front-only access was introduced in July show that 14 percent of passengers still manage to hop on for a free ride, a source from the operator told Reuters.

About a quarter of Athens’ 4 million residents use its public transport system every day, statistics show.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, editing by Andrei Khalip

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