Central bus station in Jerusalem.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
MK Tamar Zandberg participated in a protest inside the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on Monday against the shortcomings of the Transportation Ministry and the Egged bus cooperative in issuing Rav-Kav chargeable travel cards.
“This is a situation that repeats itself every year,” said the Meretz MK, referring to the annual inefficiency in dealing with thousands of university and college students who wish to recharge their cards to receive semester- long or annual discounted travel fares.
While it is possible to pay online, the cards are issued and updated only at certain locations, leading to hours-long queues.
To receive the discount, students undergo “an unreasonable and unacceptable ordeal,” Zandberg said, recounting “bizarre” stories that have become part of the process of issuing of the travel cards.
During the protest, attended by a handful of activists, Zandberg participated in a mock debate with a man dressed up and masked as Transportation Minister Israel Katz.
The protest was led by 15 Minutes, an organization of public transport customers that works to improve services to create a “worthy alternative” to the use of private vehicles.
Passengers suffer “unbearable harassment with anything that has to do with the issuing of Rav-Kavs,” said 15 Minutes director Gil Ya’akov.
Instead of having to stand in line to update the Rav-Kavs, they should be able to do so through the Internet or their cellphones, he said.
“The [Transportation] Ministry should adjust itself to the 21st century.”
Student Michael Kisluk took part in the protest. He got in touch with 15 Minutes last year when he sued Egged after repeatedly being late for university exams because of waiting for buses that didn’t come as scheduled.
He won in court. “I understood that things can be changed,” and hope the Rav-Kav protest will have an impact, he said.
Later on Monday, Zandberg participated in a Knesset Economic Affairs Committee discussion on public transport services and the issue of the Rav-Kavs.
“Apart from the chairman, it’s just me and three haredi [ultra-Orthodox] MKs,” she tweeted. “The rest apparently don’t have a constituency that travels on public transport.”