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Katz asks Lapid to nix rise in public transport fares for 2014
Transportation minister lobbies finance minister to consider canceling 4.7% rise in fares scheduled to hit train and bus travelers on January 1.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz appealed to Finance Minister Yair Lapid in an effort to prevent the public transportation fare increases slated for the beginning of 2014.

Katz sent a letter to Lapid on Sunday, in which he asked the finance minister to considering canceling the 4.7-percent rise in fares scheduled to hit the nation’s train and bus travelers on January 1.

Most users of public transportation are low-income residents, young people, the elderly and immigrants, for whom such an increase in ticket prices would be significantly harmful, the transportation minister stressed.

“The Transportation Ministry is making great efforts to increase the use of public transportation and boost its attractiveness compared to the use of a private car,” Katz wrote. “We must remember that the sector’s gains as a result of a canceling the price hike will be many times more than the expected additional revenue from raising the prices.”

Fares for public bus and train use can be updated no more than twice a year, coinciding with the update of the Consumer Price Index, on January 1 and July 1, according to a 1997 cabinet decision. The rate increase takes into account the price indices recorded in the past two years, from January 1, 2012, to January 1, 2014, in addition to tax increases.

The last recorded tariff increase occurred on January 1, 2012, with a rise of 3% in ticket prices, the Transportation Ministry said. During that time, the Consumer Price Index increased by 3.68%, and the tax rate rose from 16% to 18%, the ministry added.
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