Ariel: Control committee will investigate light rail

Like many commuters, MK could not figure out how to operate CityPass ticket machines.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
May 29, 2012 04:12
1 minute read.
MK URI ARIEL and City Councillor Yael Entebbe

MK URI ARIEL and City Councillor Yael Entebbe 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

The fact that a passenger tried three times, unsuccessfully, to buy a ticket for the CityPass light rail in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon is nothing out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately for CityPass, that passenger was MK Uri Ariel (National Union), who was touring the light rail as a member of the State Control Committee to understand first-hand the litany of complaints the company has received about poor service on the train.

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After Ariel was unable to buy a ticket on his third try, CityPass attendants came to his aid.

Ariel and City Councillor Yael Entebbe rode the light rail at rush hour with some concerned Jerusalem citizens, and the committee chairman vowed that the State Control Committee would investigate the light rail in the coming weeks.

“The most important thing here is that there needs to be buses in addition to the train,” said Entebbe.

The future plan for Jerusalem’s transportation is to replace the current long, winding bus routes, many of them roughly parallel to the light rail, in favor of shorter routes that lead to transfers at the light rail. The fact that the train will be the only public transportation on the main route through Jerusalem is worrisome to Entebbe and Ariel.

“We know when there’s no competition, it’s not good,” added Ariel.

CityPass spokesman Ozel Vatik said it was “a shame” that Ariel did not coordinate his visit with CityPass.

According to CityPass figures released this month, the company has issued approximately 13,000 fines over the past four months, at the rate of 100 per day. Vatik defended the practice, countering that with 70,000 rides per day, 100 fines means that only 0.14 percent of passengers receive fines on a given day.

Hundreds of people have filed complaints with City- Pass over the NIS 168 fines, which were issued to passengers who did not have correct tickets when inspectors stopped them.

A class-action lawsuit is also currently in the works, led by 15 people who said they received fines through no fault of their own.

Last week, MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism), who heads the Economic Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee for Public Transportation, urged the Knesset to create a committee to immediately investigate the fines passengers receive on the light rail.


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