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The chaos of the city train's schedule caused the resignation of its manager

09 September 2011 / 20:09:14  GRReporter
2663 reads

The Athenians using the city rail to move around the city were unpleasantly surprised today. After the repair of tracks that lasted almost two years, during which the train travelled from Kifissia to Piraeus intermittently, today it came to the stops with delays and made the passengers nervous.

The reason for the inconvenience was the transfer of company employees to other government departments. As a result, there were 7 trains per hour instead of 12 as it was until yesterday. The management of the company assured that there will be a train every ten instead of five minutes, and that the train will get to its normal running by next Wednesday.

In practice, things did not happen quite like that. Angry passengers, who claimed that there was a train every half an hour, set on fire the four digits complaints telephone. The tension caused the Minister of Transport Yannis Ragousis’ response who demanded the resignation of the executive director of the company managing the underground, tram and electric train lines Yannis Spirakos.

Trains have been reduced due to the transfer of 144 employees to offices of the Ministry of Culture. Of them, 66 were trainmasters until yesterday, and 12 - controllers responsible for the regulation of the trains’ movement. The problem was caused by 15 of their colleagues who did not appear to work, presenting a doctor's note, in order to disturb the schedule as a sign of solidarity.

According to the union of the former company managing the electric train ISAP, members of their board have been transferred to the Ministry of Culture too. They believe that problems of insufficient staff in the trains and stops will not stop there. If they are right, next week is going to be a transport mess for Athens, which is already suffering the consequences of the new strike of taxi owners.

While the European pressure on the government to implement the reforms is becoming more intense, the state apparatus seems very confused and uncoordinated. Just a day after the Minister of Culture Pavlos Geroulanos’ statements that state lottery OPAP will not be privatized, at least at first, the Secretary George Christodoulakis, responsible for the privatization, included it in the list of state enterprises to be sold by the end of 2011.

He presented the privatization program of the Greek government for the period 2011 - 2015 in London to attract foreign investors. According to the presentation, part of OPAP will be sold by year's end, but the price was not indicated. George Christodoulakis is even convinced that without the privatization of the state lottery by the end of the year the target revenue from privatizations in 2011, which is 5 billion, could not be reached.

Apparently, not all members of the government share this view. The Minister of Culture said the government is able to greatly increase the revenue from OPAP. "Our priority is OPAP to benefit from all rights the state provides for gambling, i.e. to entitle it to participate in competitions for permits. The increase in monopoly and other actions are all measures that the government is obliged to take before even thinking to sell it."

They agree with this view in OPAP. Some members of the management do not believe that the state lottery privatization will take place ever, especially if its monopoly on gambling grows.

According to well-informed sources, the change in the privatization plans of the Minister of Finance concerning OPAP is due to the stubborn refusal of the President of New Democracy to agree with it. Antonis Samaras opposed the specific sale the previous May, when he presented the party's economic program and the government had just begun to shape the austerity plan for the Greek economy.


Tags: PoliticsSocietyElectric trainTransfer of employeesResignationLotteryOPAPPrivatisation
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