The era of baggage trolleys by credit card has arrived at Ben Gurion Airport.
The airport has installed 3,500 new trolleys in Terminals 3 and 1 that are dispensed by inserting a credit card. A ten-shekel deposit is required for 5 hours use. When the trolley is returned to its place, the card holder is credited for the amount of the deposit.
The reason for the new system, the Airports Authority explains, is to eliminate the 8.5 million shekels in losses annually due to trolleys that are abandoned in airport parking lots after use, and which then disappear or get damaged in collisions with cars.
The deposit will provide an incentive for travelers to return the trolleys to their places in good condition when they are finished using them.
Research shows that use of the luggage trolleys are on a downward graph. The experience of other major airports has been that their use is becoming less necessary as wheeled luggage becomes more widespread. The same is expected to happen at Ben Gurion.
Management also hopes the trolley system will help to preserve some order amid the chaos of Pesach travel season. The number of people passing through Terminal 3 is projected to surge to 63,000 on Sunday, when school children go on vacation. While renovations continue in Terminal 1, international flights will depart only from Terminal 3, which will also contribute to crowding.