On Monday, January 20th, two common activities were held with the participation of both drivers and executives of OASA and refugees / asylum seekers at the Eleonas Refugee Accommodation Center and the support of the employees in the Center.
The main objective of the activity was to inform the population of the Center about the rights and the obligations of the public transport passengers, as well as to discuss and record the problems and the difficulties which the population of the Center often face when using public transport.
In total, two sessions took place at the Eleonas Refugee Accommodation Center. The first was addressed to the general population of the Center, while the second to unaccompanied minors residing in the Safe Zone of the Center.
The first activity was attended by Farsi and Arab speaking refugees and asylum seekers who discussed with members of the REVERT project, and mainly with buses drivers, issues related to public transportation and problems they face daily. The inability to obtain the personalized public transportation card (ATHENA card) due to lack of VAT or a social security number as well as the high cost of the public transport fare were discussed at length. All participants, refugees / asylum seekers and representatives of OASA were actively involved in the discussion and refugee and asylum seekers were informed about the possibility of issuing a personalized card with the use of the asylum card. This change in OASA procedures is the outcome of the REVERT project in an effort to meet the needs of these groups and facilitate proper use of public transportation.
The second activity aimed to informing and discussing with unaccompanied minors residing in the Safe Zone of the Elaionas Refugee Accommodation Center and use public transportation daily. For the protection of the unaccompanied minors, the Safe Zone staff was present throughout the activity. Apart from the fare issue which was again discussed at length, cases of bus drivers not stopping at the bus stop outside the Center and the reasons behind this were discussed with bus drivers to explore whether such incidents as connected to prejudices and racist motives. The mutual willingness to understand the current conditions and obstacles of the other side was clearly demonstrated.
The REVERT team for both sessions was represented by Mr. Giorgos Stamoulos, Head of Commercial Exploitation in OSY-OASA, Mr. Stavros Koutsimbiris and Giorgos Kaplan – Aslanidis, Bus Drivers of OSY, Mrs. Christina Varla, Head of Passenger Information Services Department at OASA, Mrs. Lila Mastora, Researcher, NKUA and Mr. Tasos Mastrogiannakis, Manager, CMT Prooptiki. The interpretation from Greek to Arabic was carried out by Mrs. Safa Abdel Rasul from Al Μasar organization, whereas the interpretation of Greek to Farsi was carried out by Mr. Zia Emame, also Al Μasar organization associate.