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Lower Light Rail fines bills unanimously supported
By MELANIE LIDMAN
14/06/2012
MKs Gafni, Maklev, of United Torah Judaism, sponsor bill to lower fines for passengers caught without a ticket.
 
The Knesset unanimously approved the preliminary reading of two bills on Wednesday that would reduce the fines for Jerusalem Light Rail travelers and enable passengers who receive fines to appeal them to a government body.

MKs Moshe Gafni and Uri Maklev, of United Torah Judaism, sponsored the bill to lower the fines for passengers caught without a ticket, from NIS 180 to NIS 100. Many passengers complained the inspectors were overzealous in fining passengers who did not understand the ticketing system or were given faulty tickets by Egged.

According to rail operator CityPass, the amount of the fine was determined by the Transportation Ministry.

The appeals bill, sponsored by MKs David Rotem and Robert Ilatov, both of Yisrael Beytenu, would allow passengers who receive a fine to appeal to an independent, three-person council with similar power to a magistrate’s court.

Rotem said that currently the only way for passengers to appeal a fine is with CityPass, and there is no independent oversight.

“We are witnesses to the many problems of Jerusalem residents and visitors in dealing with the inspectors on the light rail, and it seems there are a lot of those, and this way someone who feels wronged by the light rail polices can present his claims,” Rotem said in a statement released by his office.

Also on Wednesday, the Knesset Public Petitions Committee met to discuss its disastrous field trip to the light rail two weeks ago, when it took members more than 45 minutes to buy tickets.

MK Avraham Michaeli (Shas) sarcastically suggested that CityPass open up a psychometric course, to teach people how to use the ticketing machines.

CityPass CEO Yehuda Shimshoni said the company had given out 16,000 fines since the train began charging for tickets in January. He added that it had received 8,000 appeals, and in all of the cases the appeals were accepted and the fines waived.
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