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