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Showing posts with label Jerusalem Light-Rail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jerusalem Light-Rail. Show all posts

Dec 24, 2013

Jaffa to Davidka (video)

this is very cool.. it was filmed on the Jerusalem Light Rail during the snow storm

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Sep 16, 2013

You've come a long way, baby!

I am not sure why this is news, but Mynet is reporting that the Jerusalem Light-Rail now has its first female driver. not just that, but she is also religious and covers her hair!

Another step in the path of society towards real equality and treatment!

As Virginia Slims has been saying for a long time.. You've come a long way, baby!

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Jun 24, 2013

Campaign to Teach Israelis Basic Transportation Etiquette (video)

I don't know if they could have found a more complicated design for those arrows...

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Jan 14, 2013

Forcing Better Customer Service

If you won't provide reasonable customer service, the courts might punish you for it.

In what looks to me like a precedent, CityPass, the operator of the Jerusalem Light-Rail, had to pay two passengers who sued them in small claims court for poor customer service by which they suffered aggravation and anguish.

The two passengers suffered the famously oppressive behavior of the Light-Rail inspectors, where they flood the public with fines even when the problems were the fault of faulty machinery or other situations in which the passenger did not really deserve the fine, or where a lenient approach was appropriate. Often the fines are appealed and the main office at times voids the fine, but the inspectors themselves are very heavy-handed.

1 passenger in the lawsuit sued City Pass because when he got on the train there was a large crowd in front of the machine. Before he could get to the machine to use his smart card and pay for the ride, the inspector already wrote him up and fined him.

The second passenger in the lawsuit said he had swiped the card, and even saw the machine light up indicating the approval of the card. the problem was the machine had not "buzzed", which indicates he had not actually paid for the ride. The inspector wrote him up and fined him.

In both cases, upon appeal the main office immediately canceled the fines based on the explanation of the passengers.

The courts, taking into account that the fines had been canceled immediately, did not require CityPass to pay court costs, but they did require them to pay the passengers 720 NIS for their anguish. Even though the fines were canceled, the judge said, no apology at all had been sent for the behavior of the inspector.

During the defense CityPass denied that it has instructed the inspectors to operate with a heavy-hand towards passengers, but later they did admit that inspectors had been instructed to follow the rules precisely and not use their own judgement or to weigh the arguments in any specific instance.
(source: Mynet)

While I think CityPass inspectors have been too heavy-handed and unreasonable, I find it interesting that the court would fine the company for poor customer service. The fines had been canceled, but no letter of apology had been sent.

Perhaps this should go out as a warning to all companies, especially public companies, in Israel that they should improve their customer service, or else they will be forced to...

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Jan 8, 2013

Picture of the Day

the Jerusalem Light-Rail, through Geshempocalypse (title credit to Benji Lovitt)

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Nov 22, 2012

Interesting Psak: Riding For "Free" and Pay Later

Egged has had the policy for a long time of letting passengers on to the first bus after Shabbos, from the Kotel, despite not having money to pay.

Egged knows that many people walk to the Kotel on Shabbos, and obviously they are not carrying any money. The only way for them to get home would be to either walk, or via Egged - but they don't have money to pay for the ticket. So, Egged has been good about that and let's people get on the first bus after Shabbos, despite not having money.

It was never considered, by Egged, to be an ideal situation. Egged can't really know if people do or do not eventually pay for those rides, but giving free rides to lots of people is not really included in their business model.

According to Mynet, a number of Shabbos parsha papers have recently been discussing the topic of whether one can carry the new rav kav, the smart card, cards on Shabbos or if they are muktzeh like money.

I don't know why they would be any different than the old-fashioned kartisiyot, the bus tickets that would get punched with holes for rides, but it seems a number of poskim say that one is allowed to carry these rav kavs on Shabbos. Rav Baruch Efrati says it is allowed.

This would give Egged the ability to say that they no longer offer "free" rides, and that people should carry their rav kavs with them if they plan to take the bus home after Shabbos.

Interestingly, on a related topic, there has been a problem, commonly enough with CityPass, the operators of the Jerusalem Light-Rail. Many times the machines to buy tickets are not working at any given station. Either they don't work at all, or they don't give change and demand exact change for payment, and sometimes the credit card reader isnt working. Some people take the risk and get on the train anyway, and plan to pay later for the ride. After all, it is not their fault, but they need to use the public transportation. The article quotes a rav who is against riding the train in such a situation. Rav Erez Malca says that if the cash register in a store was not working, you would not just take your stuff and leave. Therefore, he says, getting on the train in this situation is also stealing. If CityPass would allow it, that would be fine, but City Pass explicitly says that boarding the train is not allowed under these circumstances, and therefore doing so would be theft.

I have not looked into the halacha, and I therefore offer no opinion on whether it should be considered muktzeh or not. I do wish to comment on Egged's expectations from this. According to the article's introduction, this psak is meant to satisfy the haredi community - specifically them, but also all religious people, because it seems they are the bulk of the passengers who use Egged in this fashion after Shabbos.

My comment on this is that Rav Baruch Efrati might be a great man and a great posek, but he is not one followed by the haredi community. I would even be willing to bet that most people in the haredi community have not heard of him. With all due respect to Rav Efrati, if Egged is expecting the haredi community to start carrying their rav kavs on Shabbos, they should have also gone to haredi poskim, and probably even the gedolim (because this is a question of chilul Shabbos), to make such a determination.

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Jun 18, 2012

City Pass To Make Changes To Light-Rail Ticketing System

I don't know if this is good news per se, but it can't be bad news. City Pass, the operator of the Jerusalem Light-Rail, is going to be changing its ticketing system, according to News 1, because of all the problems with the system.

According to the report, the main problem is that the ticket-selling machines could not stand up to the demand, and there was not enough change held to be distributed to people buying tickets. The new equipment will, supposedly, have larger change boxes for giving change, as well as having a more user-friendly interface.

City Pass is also considering putting ticket machines on the trains themselves. This will improve the situation from two perspectives:

  1. when a train shows up and the lines was still too long and you did not have a chance to buy the ticket - you can now get on the train anyway and buy it there.
  2. when buying the train ticket before the train arrives, you are losing minutes available from using the ticket for the 90 minute transfer. Buying the ticket on the train will save those transfer minutes.
Another great feature, the report says, is that they are considering a system that would not require the passenger to pass his ticket by a machine. The system would scan the passengers getting on by the door, and it would automatically read the tickets, even if it is in the persons wallet. 

I like that feature, except for the fact that if someone bought a packet of tickets how would the system know to only read one of them? And how would the passenger know if the reader successfully read the ticket or if there was a failure that needed to be addressed?

Overall, changes to the system will hopefully be good and beneficial. It would be hard for them to be worse than what is currently in place!

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Jun 13, 2012

Proposed Law: Independent Appeals Committee for Jerusalem Light-Rail

There is potentially good news for riders of the Jerusalem Light-rail system who have had to suffer until now under the burden of excessive fines, frequently as a result of either not knowing how to use the system properly or because of faulty equipment (ticket machines or readers that don't work).

Today the Knesset passed the initial reading of a proposed law that would formulate an independent appeals committee to hear complaints and appeals about the Light-Rail.

As of right now, if you get a fine, and you most likely will if you ride the Light-Rail, you have to take the fine, and you can go to the office of CityPass (the operator of the Light Rail system) and complain. Maybe they will listen, maybe not.

Having an independent address for complaints should get the City pass people in line, to a certain extent. If the appeals committee finds that an unusual number of the complaints are justified, the appeals accepted, City pass will actually have to answer for its behavior.

The law was proposed by MKs Dovid Rotem and Robert Iltov, both from Yisrael Beiteinu. I hope the Knesset passes this law quickly. The Light-Rail system is out of hand.

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May 2, 2012

Citypass Fines 12000 Passengers On Jerusalem Light Rail

In the news today, an almost shocking statistic was announced. Since Citypass, the company running the Jerusalem Light Rail, has begun full operation 4 months ago, they have issued 12,000 fines to passengers, totaling 2.2 million NIS.

While that number sounds ridiculously high, Citypass defended itself by saying that that number of fines represents 0.2% of the number of passengers per day. As well, they say that many of the fines (I did not hear a number mentioned) have been canceled after the passenger appeals and shows that the cause was an honest mistake rather than an attempt to ride without paying.

I don't know if that actually mitigates the issue or not, but it sounds like an awfully high number. It even sounds abusive to me. I never heard of so many fines being passed out on other methods of public transportation, such as on Egged or the train.

What has been happening on the Jerusalem Light Rail by Citypass inspectors has been abusive and anything but friendly and forthcoming customer service. Something there in the system needs to be changed.

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Apr 2, 2012

Jerusalem light Rail Rides Cost One Family 933 NIS

The abusive treatment of the public by the company running the Jerusalem Light Rail continues. I remember in the early days of Kvish 6 there were also many complaints of how poorly they treated customers. Their response to the complaints against the draconian fines and confiscations was that people are not used to the new system and they need to be taught, the hard way, the new culture. It is not enough to educate and announce what the fines will be, as they had done, but they also needed to show people they were serious.

The Jerusalem Light Rail seems to have taken a similar approach. People get fined regularly, despite buying tickets, when card readers don't work or when someone finds it confusing and cannot figure out how to use it.

A family went to Jerusalem for a family simcha - a Shabbat Chattan. They got on the light rail, having bought five tickets. They could not figure out how to use the machine to swipe the card. Granted, it is not rocket science, and should not be too difficult to figure out, but some people find these things more confusing than others.

Anyways, the inspectors showed up and instead of showing them how to swipe the cards, they immediately fined the family for each passenger who had not swiped - a total of 993 NIS in fines, after having the police come and help force them off the rail.

The family argues that this is not the way to greet guests to the city, and they came for a simcha that Citypass employees ruined for them.

That may be the case, but those are not good excuses. The fact that they are guests in the city and the fact that they have a simcha does not entitle them to not pay, nor does anybody have to give them special treatment.

Citypass, the operator of the Light Rail, should, on the other hand, be more considerate and forthcoming to people who clearly cannot figure out how to use the system, which is new and unlike any payment system anywhere else in Israel. Instead of only sending around inspectors to fine people who did not pay, they should either be training the inspectors to also help those who have difficulty or they should send other people around the trains to help those who need assistance.

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Jan 11, 2012

Educating The People On The Jerusalem Light Rail

Yesterday I was in Jerusalem and took the Light Rail across town. I do not remember ever being able to get to downtown Jerusalem from the Central Bus Station as quickly as it went yesterday on the Light Rail. No traffic, no traffic lights. It seemed  like it took just a few minutes. Though I must say the train cars were pretty crowded, especially when I took the train back to the bus station during rush hour time.

Personally I did not use my smart card, as I did not feel it necessary to buy a slew of rides, even at the cheaper price, that would probably take me many months to use up, as I rarely have the need to use it. Instead I bought two single passes. So for me everything seemed pretty smooth.

Unfortunately for others, there was a serious amount of inspectors on the train at all times checking to ensure that people actually paid. They are really setting the tone now letting people know that they have to pay. I saw them hand out a number of fines. One friend who I saw who also got a fine told me that his smart card had not worked when he swiped it, and when the inspector checked the card he also saw that it had not worked. he gave this guy the fine anyway (I think it was 180 NIS) and told him that he could complain at the main office. They are giving out fines even when it is their system that is causing the problem! Not just when they catch someone who snuck on, but when their card or card reader does not work! I saw other people also complaining about something that did not work, but I don't know their stories or if they were just making excuses.

I can understand sending lots of inspectors out, and I ca understand them being harsh with giving out fines. It is a new system, and they need to "educate" the people. I do not think it is right that when it is their system that fails they should still be able to give out fines to the victims, even if they then advise them how to appeal it. Just like I think it is ok for them to be a bit harsh about dishing out fines, thy should also be understanding when it is their own fault.

Sep 11, 2011

Picture Of The Day

Picture Of The Day

(sikrikim/thugs in Yerushalayim protesting against immodesty on the light rail trains)

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