The European Commission on Monday gave the green light to a 29.5-million-euro investment program to upgrade ticketing systems on Greek public transport as part of the cash-strapped country's bid to curb fare-dodging, which is estimated to cost the Athens Urban Transport Organization (OASA) up to 37.5 million euros a year.

The funds for the program, which will introduce electronic tickets and ticket barriers, will come from European Union regional development funds.

EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn said that the decision marks "an important step" toward the modernization of public transportation in the Greek capital.

Three companies have already submitted binding offers to undertake the installation of the new ticketing systems.