The Knesset should create a committee to immediately investigate the fines
passengers receive on the light rail, MK Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism),
who heads the Economic Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee for Public
Transportation, said Monday.
The subcommittee met on Monday as part of an
ongoing series of Knesset meetings to measure the effectiveness of the light
rail and address problems arising from the service.
Hundreds of people
have filed complaints with CityPass over the NIS 168 fines, which were issued to
passengers who did not have correct tickets when inspectors stopped
This included passengers who asked inspectors for help and received
fines instead, and thousands of passengers who were issued tickets with an
erroneous code due to an electronic snafu in the Egged ticketing
A class-action lawsuit is also currently in the works, led by 15
people who said they received fines through no fault of their
According to CityPass figures released last week, the company has
issued approximately 13,000 fines over the past four months, at the rate of 100
per day. A CityPass representative defended the practice, countering that with
70,000 rides per day, 100 fines means that only 0.14% of passengers receive
fines on a given day.
CityPass Chief Financial Officer Raviv Soval told
the MKs that the company has received hundreds of appeals to the fines and is in
the process of examining them. He added that the state has already invested NIS
4 billion in the light rail and a small funding increase is all that is needed
to vastly improve the service and increase the frequency of trains.
subcommittee also discussed future changes to Jerusalem’s public transportation
system, which will favor short, intra-neighborhood lines that lead to the light
rail rather than the current system of long, winding routes through multiple
Dror Ganon, the Transportation Ministry’s senior deputy
director-general for public transportation, said that a map delineating all of
the changes will be ready only in July.
A Givat Mordechai neighborhood
representative, Yehiel Amitai, said that changes to area bus routes will
lengthen his daily commute to the government quarter from seven or eight minutes
on a single bus line to 40 minutes or more on two separate buses and the light
rail. He added that most residents of his neighborhood were dependent on buses
to commute to work and move around the city.
City councilwoman Yael
Entebbe, who held the transportation portfolio until six months ago, urged the
Transportation Ministry not to change the bus lines. Entebbe, who represents
residents of Pisgat Ze’ev, one of the end points of the rail line, said she
surrendered her portfolio due to frustrations with the light rail’s
“Don’t make people into prisoners of the light rail,” she