The company operating the traffic cameras system is to receive a warning from the government in the wake of a series of failures that are holding up the full implementation of the system, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Wednesday.
The president on Wednesday hosted a meeting on the embattled traffic camera system to try and untangle the growing knot as the programme remains mired in its pilot phase.
President Nicos Anastasiades called in all the top stakeholders, ranging from the attorney-general and ministers to the police chief, to try and finally get the sclerotic programme moving.
After the meeting, Karousos told reporters that the company handling the cameras will receive a warning from the government that it must fulfil its agreed obligations.
Karousos said that further meetings between the transport and justice ministries, and the company will hopefully iron out the kinks which are preventing the smooth issuance of the fines.
“I hope that by the end of the month all the issues are resolved, because if they’re not sorted then we will not be able to proceed with the first phase,” he said, adding that the president will chair another meeting before the end of the month.
The pilot phase began in October 2021 with just four stationary cameras active, a period which was initially only set to last for three months. But since then, local media reported that over half of the almost 90,000 violations which have been recorded have not had their subsequent fines sent out.
But Karousos on Wednesday hit back at those figures, stating that confirmed violations currently total 62,752 of which 47,192 have either been sent out or will be issued in the next five days. Specifically, about 38,000 have been sent out, he said, with the remaining 9,200 to be issued within a week.
However, that still leaves a considerable chunk of 15,000 fines which must be handled.
“For these, solutions and instructions have been given to the company on how to deal with them,” he said, adding that a decision will be made by the end of the month as to whether the system can finally exit its pilot phase.
Issues plaguing the camera system are varied, but a major hurdle is that the company is having difficulties issuing fines due a driver’s details appearing in different forms and not matching across the government databases.
Just last month, it was reported that 11,000 fines were deemed invalid by the company, which subsequently asked that they be rescinded.
But Karousos on Wednesday instead stated that those are not in fact fines but are violations which were recorded but did not meet the criteria for a fine.
“Many of those were photographs captured as part of a trial run, before a camera is put in to use it must carry out some tests and many of those 11,000 recordings were such tests,” he said, adding that other recordings concerned ambulances, scooters, and bicycles.
He said that some recordings were of vehicles without licence plates and as such they cannot be fined.
Karousos had previously told daily Phileleftheros that the reasons given by the company are that there were issues with visibility in the photographs of the 11,000 recordings. It said that key details such as the vehicle’s registration plate not being clear.
Karousos was also quoted as saying that the company managing the cameras has so far not received any payments due to the ongoing issues.
Those involved with the camera system say it is impossible to progress into the first phase, which sets out for a further 20 stationary units, as the system is already overwhelmed with just four.