Following a public outcry, Israel Railways has modified their ticket selling platform to allow for religious Jews to be able to purchase tickets in on Friday, for renewed train service across the country that begins on Monday.
With the reopening of the trains in Israel, it was decided to limit the number of passengers on each train to 500 people and to force all passengers to purchase tickets in advance. Passengers had the option of buying tickets as of 48 prior to their departure times. With trains scheduled to renew service on Monday morning, tickets for the entire first day of travel would have gone on sale on Shabbos.
Israel has not had train service in the past three months, as trains closed to the public on March 25th.
With tickets expected to sell out quickly due to the reduced number of passengers and the lengthy period of lack of service, combined with the overcrowding of busses that have been caused by the lack of trains, religious commuters felt that the current situation was excluding them from being able to travel at all. This feeling was spread throughout the Charedi and national religious communities, as they would not be able to purchase tickets until a day after everyone else, and by then, it was feared that most of the tickets would be gone.
The story was addressed in the media by Ynet which resulted in a public outcry. Following the outcry, the Transportation Ministry demanded from Israel Railways that they move up the purchase date for Monday’s tickets to Friday, in order to allow religious commuters to purchase tickets. Israel Railways responded that they would act in accordance with the instruction which they receive.
An additional problem that affects many of the Charedi commuters is the issue of purchasing the tickets online when they do not use the internet. As of now, there is no phone service for ticket sales, and ticket sales in person are not being allowed b the Health Ministry. Israel Railways has not yet found a solution to this issue, but they have said that they are working on it.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)