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Cyprus

Rural bus services resume (Update 3)

Tasos Michaelides at Arediou bus station on Monday

By Andria Kades
Bus services affected during a dispute at the Nicosia bus company OSEL last week resumed on Monday albeit with some changes as the Arediou station remained closed.
The programme includes a number of changes with respects to pick-up and drop-off points but OSEL said it ensured passengers would be easily able to transfer to other routes in and out of Nicosia.
Although operations went smoothly, one bus had to reportedly stop at around 7am due to security reasons. Passengers, who included students, were picked up by another bus.
Arediou has been closed off for a week after a company shareholder Tasos Michaelides blocked the station, along with around 20 buses, in an attempt to raise the issue of alleged dodgy dealings in the company, including cooking the books, bribing officials and cheating the state over fuel.
A trench had been dug, obstructing the vehicles from leaving the station. He refused to run his buses until action was taken.
By Monday, the trench was closed however the buses could not be moved as their insurance had been revoked.
Michaelides repeated his claims of nepotism on Monday, claiming the wife of a high ranking person in the company is paid a €5800 salary but only comes in to work for a few hours a week.
Asked how many of his family members work in OSEL, he told the state broadcaster it was five.
He chastised the Transport Minister Marios Demetriades for saying there were strict controls in place. This was grossly inaccurate, Michaelides said, pointing out that OSEL officials are set to appear in court in December for dodgy deeds in the company.
OSEL was not immediately available for comment.
On state radio, Demetriades said the company did have children and grandchildren of various people working there but added that government checks had become tougher over the past two years. The state’s agreement with the company is set to end in 2020, but this did not mean the government would accept wrong practices until then, he said.
Early on Saturday morning a court order issued earlier this week was served but the buses could not be removed due to technical damage, OSEL said.
Michaelides however claimed this was an outright lie and the company was lying to the public.
For more information on the routes and schedule visit http://www.osel.com.cy/ or call 77-77-77-55

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