Lower fares hit the road (and are on track)

Public transportation reform means cheaper travel and flexible options.

Israel Railways train stations (photo credit: TRANSPORTATION MINISTRY)
Israel Railways train stations
Those who have been in Israel for a few years are accustomed to fare increases on January 1. However, today, January 1, 2016, is very different: The Public Transportation Fares Reform is being introduced in the four largest metropolitan areas: Jerusalem, greater Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheba, and the bottom line is that commuting by bus and train will be will be much cheaper now.
One of the main innovations is that fares are from zone to zone, and not limited to any one operator.
An intricate system of zones covering wide areas means that there are endless permutations of bus and train travel, with tickets to suit just about everybody.
Daily, weekly and monthly unlimited tickets (on a personal Rav-Kav) will lead to big savings. An all-day ticket for the Tel Aviv area is nothing new – and long predates the Rav-Kav – but starting today it can be used on the first bus or train of the day, until the end of that day’s service, rather than having to wait until 9 a.m. as previously. A weekly ticket is valid for seven days from date of purchase, and can start on any day (for example Tuesday to the following Monday).
Monthly (hofshi hodshi) tickets have been dramatically reduced in price, on some routes by as much as 40 percent.
Within the zones covered, according to whichever option has been chosen, any mode of public transport – buses operated by any company as well as trains – can be used. Thus for example a person living in Netanya and working in Tel Aviv, who buys a monthly ticket at a cost of NIS 350, can travel by bus or train, or any combination thereof, in “Ring 1” (greater Tel Aviv), plus zones 2.1 and 2.2 (covering Herzliya, Kfar Saba, Rosh Ha’ayin and Shoham), plus zone 3.1, covering Netanya and as far north as Michmoret and Ahituv. A day ticket covering the same combination of zones costs NIS 31, and a weekly is NIS 135.
Hebrew readers can find all the information they need on Egged’s website at http://www.trans-reform.org.il/index.html.
Single tickets will of course still be available, bought from a bus driver or in a railway station booking office. A single ticket is valid for 90 minutes’ unlimited travel in the relevant zone.
The significant price reductions should go a long way towards encouraging people to leave their cars at home and take public transportation, thus reducing congestion on the roads. And of course the same tickets (assuming they cover the appropriate zone) will be valid on the Tel Aviv light rail, when it is up and running.