Guide to SKOPJE

Solidarity ticket brings hope in Athens

While the world economic crisis is firmly holding ground in Greece, solidarity in the capital Athens has got its price. A grain of hope for waking up the culture of solidarity costs only €1.40, the price of a metro ticket in the capital. You must be wondering what the connection is between a metro ticket and solidarity. In order to find the answer to this question you must go to Athens.

That is exactly what I did. In the train from Thessaloniki to Athens I met Tanas, a student, who offered to show me the metro station I had to get off since his destination was nearby. I decided to buy him a metro ticket in return and he could not hide his smile, not only because of my generous gesture but because as a student he has far less money now in times of crisis.


The price of a ticket you can use for 90 minutes to ride in the metro might not seem too high for someone staying in the city for a day or two, but the sum of it is not insignificant for the ones who live there. Especially now, when salaries have been substantially decreased for the past three years, even a metro ticket can be considered a financial burden.

That is why the residents of Athens created an efficient system in order to oppose the system, and I had the opportunity to witness its efficiency. The day I arrived in Athens I intended to take a ride on the well-organized public transport. I went down to Syntagma Station with a goal to explore the city. The moment I wanted to buy a ticket I noticed a girl walking towards me, holding a piece of paper in her hand. She tried to hand it to me but I passed by ignoring her, thinking it was some restaurant or boutique flyer. She looked surprised. A few metres down the same thing happened again. A teenager offered me his ticket and said I had about 50 minutes ride left. This time I accepted it. I put it in the machine with a dose of suspicion but it just went through smoothly. I entered the metro and three stations later I got off to take a different line. It was then that I understood how used metro tickets change hands and in the 90 minutes of their validity time, at least three people use the same ticket.

After a ten minute ride I offered the ticket to an elderly lady. I felt happy, not because I had saved €1.40, but because I was part of a chain of solidarity that was wrapped tightly around the city. In a short while I had the scheme figured out and used it with great pleasure.


A journalist Sanja Ristovska who works in Athens explains how it all started and how she became a part of the solidarity chain.

– The Greeks were annoyed by the increased prices of public transport. A 90 minute ride ticket used to be €1 and then the price was raised sharply to €1.40, and a ticket for a single ride went up to €1.20. That was the reason why this solidarity chain was started, says Ristovska.

She was skeptical in the beginning, just like I was, but soon got used to playing the game.

– It’s so interesting to go down in the metro, stand in front of a machine to buy a ticket and an unknown man approaches you saying “Here you are girl. It’s valid for another 40 minutes.” Once I gave my ticket to a little girl and a gentleman coming just behind her said “I wish I came earlier, continues Ristovska.

That is why a €1.40 ticket brings back hope in Greece. The exchange of it is not an act of disobedience. On the contrary, it is a sign of solidarity, as well as a system of saving money and efficient use of the public transport.