Govt announces nationalization of loss-making Thessaloniki bus system
Amid a wave of memorandum-mandated privatizations in still bailout-dependent Greece one entity in the country is apparently passing into state control: the urban bus system in the northern metropolis of Thessaloniki.
A relevant announcement was made on Thursday by the relevant transport minister, Christos Spirtzis, whose election district is also in Thessaloniki.
In an announcement, the government referred to a “transitional phase by the end of 2019, at the latest”, a provision listed in a draft bill.
In place of the current privately owned system, called the Thessaloniki Urban Transport Organisation (OASTh), Spirtzis said two new entities will be created, one to operate the fleet of buses operating around metropolitan Thessaloniki – and the metro system, when it is completed – and another that will act as a regulatory body for all mass transit systems in greater Thessaloniki.
“OASTh will assume a public character, in other words, it will be ‘de-privatized’ from a state-dependent (subsidies) monopoly going back 60 years,” Spirtzis said.
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