Knesset Committee Discusses The ‘Rav Kav’ Disaster


One would be hard-pressed to find a Jerusalem commuter who has a kind word to share regarding the new ‘rav kav’ the payment system on Jerusalem buses and light rail, the so-called smart card that replaced the old Egged ‘cartisiya’.

Yes, the era of the paper bus ticket that required the driver to punch out a ride was overdue for retirement, but its successor, the ‘rav kav’ is a poor excuse for a smart card.

The Knesset Public Transportation Committee will be convening on Tuesday, 22 Teves 5772, and committee members will address the rapidly growing list of complaints from commuters. MK (Yahadut HaTorah) Uri Maklev, a member of the Knesset Ombudsmen Committee, has a long list of complaints from riders, listing problems and defects that appear to be widespread.

The issue of the rav kav is not likely to vanish for the complaints of malfunctions, often telling a rider that a card requires a refill when it was just filled. In addition, commuters are unwilling to rely on the integrity of the system, and with the current card, many a rider has documented that when transferring from one bus to another during the 90-minute free transfer period, the bus computer registers another paid fare. This seems to be the most common complaint and a number of chareidi MKs have already become involved since in Yerushalayim, most chareidim rely on public transportation since they do not have a vehicle.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. ???

    “most chareidim rely on public transportation since they do not have a vehicle.”

    “Most chareidim”??? Most EVERYONE in Yerushalim doesn’t own a car, and even if you do, you don’t use it for in town driving since there’s nowhere to park.

    EVERYBODY, chareidi, torani-leumi, chiloni, uses the buses to get around. The approximately 100% tax on cars, the $8 per gallon gas prices, and the lack of parking do not discriminate by level of religiousity.

  2. My personal complaints:

    1) They only have 2 refill machines which are commonly out of service
    2) The refill machines computers are so slow and regularly have to restart that many people miss the train
    3) The lines for the machines are way too long
    4) The refill machines sometimes do not accept cash!!
    5) Many people have no clue how the card is supposed to work. I’ve seen old men up getting harassed by the ticket inspectors for not paying when in fact they had a proper rav-kav.
    6) Student discounts are only for israeli citizens and no one else, not even students with a proper student visa.
    7) The 90 minutes allowed for a transfer on a disposable ticket, start from time of purchase of ticket, not boarding time. Why not purchase a ticket right before the train comes? Again, the machine is so slow.
    8) The ravkav cards don’t work well. 50% of the time I have to rescan it.

    This is just a fast composed of some of my gripes of the ravkav system. There are plenty more about the train system that I don’t have the patience to write right now.

  3. Bli ayin hara I hae found it to be very good with the exception of the fact that the bus and train systems are not sychronized (at least as of the time I tried it). Thus, a person who loads it on a bus will be told by the train reader that it is empty and vice-versa.

  4. Rav kav made me lose 64 shekel worth of egged bus rides. B/c they told me my card was not updated as a student card even though it was,so in order to “update” my card they had to wipe all existing rides.

  5. @2:
    It is fairly normal that benefits (discounts) are only for local residents, foreign pensioners are not entitled to pensioners discounts either (and the same applies to ‘foreign’ pensioners in several other countries as far as I understand from my mother)
    Most drivers don’t ask to see the pensioner card when they see someone old and just automatically give them the discount but really they have to show that they are Israeli/local pensioners who are entitled to the benefit and not tourists.

    Foreign students as far as I know from people studying at our institution _can_ get student discounts, but to get them you have to:
    a. get a rav-kav with ID/passport.
    b. set the status of the rav-kav to student, to do this you have to show the body issueing you the rav-kav proof that you are a student at a local recognized college/university, ie. you have to show an “ishur limudim” from your intitution.

    Once your card has the student status you can always ask for student discounts, some student discounts also require that you have a student free pass (“chofshi shanti/chofshi tekufati[semester]”) that is valid at that time on your rav-kav, others don’t.

    You can see a list of all the recognized institutions on the Egged registration page:

  6. Keeper of the keys – when they set up desks everywhere to provide people with Rav Kav’s, i was there when one of the workers called up their supervisor to ask them if they can give the student Rav Kav to someone with a visa and they were told NO! You need a valid israeli Teudat Zehut to receive any discount, so people who have been living here for years with valid visas but havent made aliya – their kids have to now pay adult fare which is ridiculous.

  7. If you fill the rav kav on a bus, and you want to use it for the train also, you have to tell the driver “code 62” (shishim v’shtayim) when he fills it up. Brilliant.