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52 million euros for installing "smart" bus stops in Athens, the debts of public transport are growing

23 February 2011 / 15:02:48  GRReporter
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The reform in public transport made its first gingerly steps as this week the Ministry of Regional Development and Competitiveness invited tender for the development of a new integrated information system for management and control of buses and trolleys in the capital. The initiative is part of the modernization programme of the public transport network in Athens. The government invites private companies to apply with their projects to introduce the new system on the base of public-private partnerships.

The state has budgeted 52 million euros and the cooperation agreement will be for 12 years. The organization of the Athens public transport will contribute a maximum of 40 per cent of the project and can not offer more than 10 million. The remaining funds will come from the information modernization programme which is part of the National Framework for Stability and Development. Applications will be accepted until April 19, 2011 and the government believes that this programme will be the base of fast developing public-private partnerships.  

The aim of the programme is to install the so-called "smart" stops, which will have an electronic display showing where the bus is and after how many minutes it will arrive. The exact schedule of public transport will also be available on the Internet and via mobile phone. Almost like in a dream, buses and trolleys in Athens will run on schedule without delays and the capital citizens and guests won’t wonder whether there is a bus and whether it stops at this bus stop!  

While the government is planning to modernize public transport, the debts of the bus and trolley companies, the Athens underground and urban train to the state have exceeded seven million euros. It became clear at the end of January that the situation is so hopeless that some of the debts of transport companies have to be remitted because they are recorded as bad debts.

This well may be the situation throughout the country. According to the President of the Bank of Greece George Provopoulos, the government quickly must take additional measures to accelerate the reforms beyond the Memorandum of financial support to convince markets that Greece could reduce its foreign debt. Provopoulos is certain that any debt restructuring could prove disastrous for the local economy and the country has to cope with this challenge by itself.

Presenting the report of the Bank of Greece on the fiscal policy in the period 2010-2011, its president said that the Memorandum and the measures included in it do not contain solution for the public debt reduction. So, in addition to cutting expenses and optimizing the structure of public administration and public enterprises, the PASOK government should immediately undertake to classify state property. "Тhe privatization of state assets for 50 billion euros is difficult, but achievable goal," said George Provopoulos and added that it could bring even more money.

Tags: EconomyMarketsCompaniesPublic transportDebts
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