NIS 190 million lawsuit filed against CityPass for issuing 60,000 light rail fines since 2012

Light rail spokesman dismisses civil suit as "publicity stunt," says less than 1% of total users fined,

Jerusalem light rail. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Jerusalem light rail.
CityPass on Monday dismissed as frivolous a NIS 191 million class-action lawsuit filed against it for allegedly allowing unauthorized lightrail inspectors to illegally fine 60,000 straphangers since the service was launched in Jerusalem in 2012.
The lawsuit, filed 10 days ago by attorney Yosi Havilio, who represents two plaintiffs, claims the massive figure includes damages caused to the 60,000 passengers fined to the present day for purportedly not properly paying their fares on the service.
“The legal argument is that the inspectors on the trains who issued the fines are not legally authorized to do so,” Havilio said on Monday.
“The Israel High Court states that if any organization in Israel has the authority to give fines, the people who do it must have legal certification to do so,” he continued, noting that he unsuccessfully sued CityPass several years ago in a separate class-action suit regarding light-rail tickets and faulty machines.
A CityPass spokesman, who asked not to be identified, described the lawsuit as a cynical publicity stunt, saying less than a fraction of 1 percent of the total number of passengers who have used the light rail were fined over the disputed period.
“Each day, there are roughly 140,000 passengers, so if you make the calculation, you see that over that time there were approximately 44 million passengers each year, and over 200 million over four years,” he said.
“Passengers have to buy tickets in advance and then put them in a little machine on the train, and these people didn’t put their tickets in the machine after boarding the train. This is why they are being fined.”
He added that all the inspectors employed by CityPass are vetted and approved by the management company before being permitted to issue fines.
“This lawyer has tried to sue us before,” he said. “It’s just a publicity stunt.”