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MK Eichler: Too Much Violence And Too Many Arrests On The Jerusalem Light Rails

In light of the violent incidents on the light rail, and following numerous requests to the Public Inquiries Committee, the Knesset Ombudsman Committee met with the directors of CityPass, which operates the Jerusalem light rail. During the course of the discussion, many questions arose regarding the treatment by the inspectors and police officers. Among other things, the passengers who paid for the trip, and because they did not validate the ticket when entering the train, their bank account was fined directly in the amount of 360 NIS.

The committee chairman, MK Yisrael Eichler said at the start of the discussion: “The fact that the citizen must validate the ticket apart from the payment leads to a trap that creates an atmosphere saturated with tension on the train. The traveler who paid should be fined?”

Obviously, Eicher in the comments above is addressing those who pay for a ticket from the machine at a stop, and not those using a smart card which must be validated to permit removing a ride from the card’s balance.

MK Eichler clarified: “A passenger who has not paid, it is clear to everyone that he should be fined. But on the other hand, most of the people who fined have paid for the ticket and can prove it on the device held by the inspector. Here there must be a measure of compassion and discretion before imposing a fine of 180 NIS, and even more so before one’s bank account is targeted by authorities.”

Here, the chairman of the committee, who spoke at the meeting, said: “Something bad happens on the light train, and in the last incidents that were filmed, the inspectors and the police behaved like wild animals, shouting and humiliating and tying people as if they were terrorists and knives. You are responsible for what will occur on the light rail in the future.”

The CEO responded to the claims: “We are not looking for fines for the money, but for people to understand that it is necessary to validate one’s ticket. I am not ashamed to say that there is a desire to create deterrence here. An inspector in the field meets close to thirty thousand people a day to check whether he has validated the card. I cannot guarantee that every such meeting will be successful. When you get a parking ticket or speed, you do not meet the fine person on the car window, and that’s why we take people off the train, and we do not want to do it in front of everyone. Our guidelines are to do the work respectfully, but firmly. Those who do not have the money should not board the train”.

At the end of the discussion, Eichler announced that the committee intends to submit a bill that will create a hierarchy between the cases and distinguish between a passenger who paid for the trip but not a validate the ticket and a passenger who did not pay. “Eichler said, adding that the committee would review the procedures for issuing the reports.” Why do you create a direct meeting between a supervisor and a passenger? You can identify the passenger by the card and send the report home. It is the direct meeting which causes the friction and leads to the violence”.

Eichler is also probing why the Ministry of Transportation has not become involved to probe the recent violence surrounding conflicts between train inspectors and passengers.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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