Group: Govt’s Unfair ‘Creative Accounting’ Makes Bus Discount Much Lower

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri ( C ) is seen during a visit in a bus station in Jerusalem , on February 01, 2016. Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** àøéä ãøòé ùø äôðéí ùñ úçðú àåèåáåñ øôåøîä äåæìä
Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri (C) during a visit at a bus station in Yerushalayim, Monday. Deri went to witness the implementation of the reduction of public transportation fares that went into effect Monday. (Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Some “creative accounting” is keeping the cost of public transportation significantly higher than the promised cut that was supposed to go into effect beginning midnight Monday, according to a riders’ rights group. In an analysis released to the media by the Transportation Our Way (Tachburah Bederech Shelanu) group, the promised 14.5 percent reduction in public transport costs has “magically” fallen to, on average, no more than 8 percent for many riders.

The group has demanded that MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, in his capacity as chairman of the Knesset Finance Committee, intervene to ensure that riders get the full benefit that they are entitled to, and that the law originally proposed reflects the benefit intended by Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon and Interior Minister Rabbi Aryeh Deri.

The differences in what was expected and what is being offered in terms of fare cuts surrounds a fare increase on monthly bus tickets that was instituted on Jan. 1. Transport Minister Yisrael Katz has demanded that the fare increase be reversed, as it was instituted without his appeal, but this has not occurred yet on many bus lines. Katz has said that any rider who overpays is entitled to a refund and can apply for one from the company they bought the ticket from.

Meanwhile, the reduction in price – set at 14.5 percent – was computed by most companies based on the new rates, meaning that with the fare increase, the actual discount over previous costs for most purchasers of monthly bus tickets will be a mere 8 percent, the group said. For many riders on inter-city lines who buy annual tickets, the discounts are even less – as little as 1 to 3 percent.

The full discount is being applied only to single ride tickets, and in essence, the accounting “trick” significantly erodes the 14.5 percent discount from multiple ride tickets, which have lower per-ride costs.