Thursday, May 17, 2012

BBC: Is it Cheaper to Put Greek Train Passengers in Taxis?

BBC News coverage on May 12, 2012.

The claim that it would be cheaper for Greece to send every rail passenger to their destination by taxi was first made by Stefanos Manos, the former Greek finance minister, in 1992. Manos used the railway system to illustrate what he saw as gross public sector waste.

Mr Manos is correct if there are more than two passengers in each taxi.

But either way, the Greek railways are in a pretty awful mess, and while train journeys may cost less than cab journeys, they are more expensive than travel on other forms of public transport, including air.

"Over $13bn has been pumped in, in the last 15 or 16 years. In terms of passengers, long-distance rail has 2.7% of the share and in terms of freight it's truly a joke because it's 0.08% of the freight so the costs are staggering," says Prof Prevedouros.