By Bejay Browne
A recently formed association which aims to attract people to the old town of Paphos is accusing the local bus company of ripping off customers by forcing them to purchase two tickets for what they say should be a simple ride into the area.
The bus company, OSYPA, rejected the accusation.
Kyriacos Kyriacou, head of The ‘Friends of Paphos Old Town’, claimed that the government and the bus operator are attempting to squeeze as much revenue out of customers as possible.
“It isn’t currently possible to travel from the west or the east of Paphos to the old town in one trip. The way the routes are organised now means that if you are coming from Coral Bay for example, you will be taken to the station at the harbour where the route terminates,” he told the Cyprus Mail. “You will have to get another bus to the old town and this means that you have to purchase two separate tickets.”
It would make more sense if a number of current routes only used the harbour as a stop and continued on to the old town, terminating routes there instead, he said.
Kyriacou said this system only existed in Paphos.
In Limassol, for example, routes run directly to the old town of Limassol from all over the area.
He added : “The government has allowed some or our main tourist areas to be destroyed, such as Ayiou Antoniou Street — known as bar street, and also Ktima- the old town. It’s embarrassing; they are supposed to support the tourist product.”
Kyriacou said he had received numerous complaints from the public and hoteliers about the service which he described as a “rip off”.
He said that the complaints fall on deaf ears, as the government wants to reduce its losses for empty busses which are running.
“The government subsidises these companies by around fifty per cent. They give the companies around €3 for every kilometre travelled, whether they have passengers or not.”
Supporters of the old town have long been campaigning to move the central bus station back to the area.
OSYPA operations manager Andreas Rodosthenous, said that the company hasn’t received any complaints from customers, adding that they are pleased with the service provided.
“The feedback we have had from our evaluation forms has been very positive. People are really happy with our routes and they understand that the station at the harbour is a hub for all of our routes. Every line is connected here and people can get connecting busses to wherever they want.”
Rodosthenous said OSYPA is following orders from the ministry of transport and noted that ticket prices are set by the government.
It costs €1.50 for a single ticket from coral bay to the harbour and another €1.50 from the harbour to the old town. A day ticket is €5 and it allows passengers to travel all around Paphos, he said.
“We cannot directly connect every destination with one trip. As it stands every line is connected to another through the Kato Paphos station.”
He concluded: “To make direct routes to the old town would require a study, it’s a big issue and I can’t say if it would be better or worse than it is now. The current system works.”