The long awaited Rav Kav smart travel card reform, by which bus drivers no longer load the multi-ride travel cards, came into effect on Dan company buses in the Greater Tel Aviv region last Friday. But the transition did not go smoothly with passengers caught unaware, long lines at Rav Kav loading points, and some of the technological options unavailable or not operating.
The special mobile app for loading the cards, it turns out, is not available to iPhone users, while many users reported that the HopOn mobile smart ticketing app kept producing error pages. One passenger reported waiting 30 minutes at a Rav Kav loading point on Ibn Gbriol Street, where there have also been long lines at the Central Bus Station.
The Transport Ministry acknowledged that iPhones do not support the Rav Kav loading app but denied any knowledge of problems on the HopOn app. It also stressed that there are many machines deployed around the city mainly in retail chains (including Super-Pharm, Good Pharm, Tzomet Sefarim, Yeinot Bitan and Dynamica) and at kiosks but also at some heavily-used bus stops. Card loading machines will also be installed on buses on main routes. Payment is by credit card, or cash, but change is not given.
The reasons given for the reform are safety, since dealing with cash distracts the driver's attention while driving, and making journey times faster and improving punctuality.
Occasional passengers can buy a one-off ticket on buses for NIS 5.90 that is transferable for additional free rides. Senior citizens can load their Rav Kav cards on buses following complaints from the elderly in Jerusalem, where the system was introduced earlier this year. There is a NIS 5 fee for buying the Rav Kav card for the first time.
The reform will apply to all the other bus companies operating in the Greater Tel Aviv region from January 18, 2019.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 24, 2018
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