Public transportation is free in Athens this week because it's so hard to get cash

Tram athensYannis Behrakis/ReutersDimitrios Zaroulas commutes to work in a tram in an Athens suburb.

As the Greek bailout crisis worsens, the government just announced that public transportation in Athens will be free this week, the UK paperthe Timesreports.

Greece’s banks have shut, possibly for the full week, and it’s increasingly difficult for the Greek population to get cash.

Greece’s transportation minister, Christos Spirtzis, has announced that buses, trams, trolley-buses, and the Athens metro will not require fares until next week. The Times reports that fares are usually about €1.20 ($US1.33), and the decision will cost the government about €4 million ($US4.44 million) this week.

The decision only covers greater Athens, where about 40% of Greece’s population lives. The government cannot waive fares in its next-largest city, Thessaloniki, because its transportation system is not fully run by the government, according to the Times.

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