Ongoing negotiations to allow elderly to use public transport for free

Regev stressed that while she is working to allow the elderly to use public transport for free, she is also working to make sure they have a way to pay with cash until negotiations are completed.

PEOPLE TRAVEL on a bus in Jerusalem this week. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
PEOPLE TRAVEL on a bus in Jerusalem this week.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Transportation Minister Miri Regev told Ynet on Tuesday that she is conducting negotiations with the Finance Ministry to allow elderly people to use public transportation for free amid a refusal by bus drivers to accept cash payment for tickets due to the coronavirus outbreak.
As part of coronavirus regulations, public transportation users are not allowed to pay for tickets with cash and must instead use a Rav-Kav (transportation card). An exception was recently made for the elderly and those who live in settlements.
"Here we will not force anyone off the bus, definitely not a 90-year-old who gets on the bus and doesn't have a Rav Kav. There won't be such a thing, and therefore I returned cash [payments] to buses," Regev told Ynet. "Just like we pay at the supermarket and banks with cash, so too, elderly people who don't have a Rav Kav will pay with cash. Meanwhile, we will protect the drivers, of course – we are rushing and increasing the partitions that will be in each bus."
Regev stressed that while she is working to allow the elderly to use public transport for free, she is also working to make sure they have a way to pay with cash until negotiations are completed.
A hearing is planned for later on Tuesday at the Regional Labor Court in Tel Aviv to discuss a request by the bus drivers' union and the national union to halt Regev's decision to allow cash payments.
"I am more than happy to hear Minister Miri Regev's response to our proposal to exempt the elderly and helpers of blind people from paying public transport fares," said chairman of the National Transportation Workers Union Avi Edri in response to Regev's comments. "Already in my first contact with the minister at the beginning of the month, I knew I'd find a listening ear on this topic and therefore I congratulate minister Regev on the correct decision.
"The National Transportation Workers Union will be glad to cooperate and to progress with every move that leads to protecting the personal health and safety of drivers – surely when discussing a step that also financially helps a weakened population such as the elderly," Edri said.

According to coronavirus regulations issued last week, buses can travel at about 50% capacity, with the number of passengers limited on city buses to 30, on intercity lines to 32 and on elongated buses to 50. Passengers are required to wear masks over their mouth and nose.