(photo credit: REUTERS)
Editor, The Jerusalem Post
Sir, – I have all too often trustingly accepted a five-pruta paper coupon as change on a Hamekasher bus, only to have it rejected in scorn by the driver of the next bus I entered, as it was a Tel Aviv Dan voucher and therefore not valid here. And many of us can relate similar circumstances.
But one evening, I inspected the change given me and when I discovered that I had a Dan coupon, I asked the driver to change it for something which would pass as currency with his colleagues. He gave me a local five-pruta coupon and I was shocked to see him calmly return the coupon I had rejected to a pile of Dan coupons, which was apparently there for handing out to stupid passengers like myself; the Jerusalem vouchers were under this pile, obviously to be produced only upon request.
On this occasion, I felt it my duty as an outraged citizen to inform the police. I phoned them and explained the position, but instead of the police officer taking down the details and sending someone to check this state of affairs, he asked me in a kindly way why a fuss should be made of it; perhaps Hamekasher doesn’t even know what its driver is doing; why don’t I just phone them on the morrow and ask them about it? Perhaps the officer really believes that the driver starts his journey with a pile of Dan vouchers he has saved up all by himself for fun. Anyway, I was always taught that a wrong act is a wrong act, whether its perpetrator is under orders or not. Could you please elicit from Hamekasher an answer as to what they intend to do to correct this wrong, and from the police, a statement as to what complaints from the public they consider it appropriate to deal with.
Jerusalem, August 27
Your correspondent gives the impression of having uncovered a case of corruption, whereas this is simply not the case. The driver’s whole packet may have contained coupons for a sum total of 50 to 60 pruta. The driver cannot profit from these coupons whether he gives them to his passengers as change or retains them himself. If M.D. would have troubled to read what is written on the coupon, he would have immediately been convinced that the full value of these coupons had been paid to the Magen David Adom to which institution the proceeds of these coupons are exclusively devoted.
The driver referred to neither printed nor falsified these vouchers.
He accepted them on his line (No. 12) from passengers who had come to Jerusalem as summer visitors at Beit Hakerem, from Tel Aviv. Officially, the driver should not have accepted Dan coupons, which are coupons of the Tel Aviv Magen David Adom, but for the convenience of these summer visitors, he took it upon himself to do so and kept them to one side, in order to return them as change to these Tel Avivians. One might blame the Tel Avivians for having offered Dan coupons in Jerusalem and the driver for having accepted them, but we did not want to order the driver to refuse them as we did not want to inconvenience the former.
Had the driver refused to take back the Tel Aviv MDA coupon, it might be argued that even though this matter concerns such a small sum, its implications should be treated as seriously as though the sum involved were larger, but since he did take it back and added it to the packet of Tel Aviv coupons so as not to mix it up with the Jerusalem ones, there is no foundation for your correspondent’s accusation.
Jerusalem Cooperative Society Ltd.
Jerusalem, September 13.
1. No criminal offence was committed by the Hamekasher driver’s giving passengers coupons of the Dan Tel Aviv bus cooperative, as change. The coupons belong to the MDA of Tel Aviv and not to the Dan company.
2. The passenger has the choice of accepting or refusing such coupons.
3. It is possible that the complainant should apply to the Ministry of Transport in this matter.
Jerusalem Police Headquarters
Jerusalem, September 16.