Israel's new 'Equal Commute' reform: Lower prices, elderly ride for free

Prices for all forms of public transport were decreased dramatically for Israelis of all ages all across the country.

Israel Railways trains (photo credit: ISRAEL RAILWAYS)
Israel Railways trains
(photo credit: ISRAEL RAILWAYS)

Israelis over the age of 75 will no longer be required to pay for public transport, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Sunday as part of the new "Equal Commute" reform.

Prices for all forms of Israeli public transport were also decreased dramatically for Israelis of all ages all across the country as part of the reform, set to take effect ahead of summer.

A monthly travel ticket, which can be used in every bus and train station nationwide (Eilat not included), will cost NIS 225. Israeli children and teenagers, along with people with disabilities and citizens aged 62-75, will receive a 50% discount.

Regional monthly travel tickets outside of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa that cover a radius of up to 40 km. can be bought for only NIS 99, with a 50% discount given to elderly Israelis in the Negev and Galilee regions.

 Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman give a press conference to present the public transport reform planned for this coming summer at the Jerusalem railway station (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli and Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman give a press conference to present the public transport reform planned for this coming summer at the Jerusalem railway station (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Changes were also made regarding fares, with inner-city buses in most of the country now being just NIS 5.50 per ride. Before the reforms, rates for inner-city rides varied significantly between cities and areas.

As part of the reform, Israel Railways will set five tariffs for a single, one-use ticket based on the distance of travel.

"The reform we have announced today is transportation justice," Michaeli said during its unveiling at Jerusalem's Yitzhak Navon railway station in the city center. 

The goal of the "Equal Commute" reform is to encourage Israelis to use public transportation, Michaeli added, which will "get us out of traffic, reduce accidents on the roads and help us with our climate crisis goals."

"Former transportation ministers have neglected Israeli public transport for many years," the transportation minister said. "The varying prices for different cities were a result of longstanding political deals: inequality in all its glory."