Ticket inspections on public transport have been unofficially suspended, Kathimerini understands, as authorities fear a public backlash after the death of a 19-year-old student who fell from a trolley bus in Peristeri, western Athens, earlier this month following an argument with a ticket inspector.
The death of Thanassis Kanaoutis on August 13 fuelled a barrage of protests and was joined by supporters of the “I Won’t Pay” anti-austerity movement.
Although the upheaval has died down, a spokesman of the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) told Kathimerini that virtually no inspections have been carried out since mid-August. “The anger provoked by the tragic accident, combined with the economic difficulties that citizens face, make it virtually impossible for inspectors to do their job,” he said.
The majority of the inspectors are said to be angered by the move as they can no longer collect the commission on the fines they impose to fare-evading passengers.
The suspension of inspections has also dealt a blow to OASA’s revenue, which had received a much-needed boost following a crackdown on fare evading last year.
In July of this year, a total of 6,363 fines were imposed, bringing in 471,106 euros, compared to 3,681 in July 2012 and 292,038 euros, an increase of 72.8 percent.