Israel announces reform on public transport fares

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JERUSALEM, March 24 (Xinhua) — The Israeli Transport Ministry announced Sunday a nationwide reform of public transport fares, which will take effect as of Monday.

The ministry noted in a statement that the two-phase reform, named “Transport Fairness,” is “the biggest revolution ever in Israel’s public transportation and is expected to save thousands of shekels for each family per year.”

The reform includes free bus and train travel for a year for soldiers discharged from regular service and those completing alternative national service.

The statement explained that this is to “express appreciation and gratitude to those who contribute the most to the country’s security.”

Additionally, the reform includes discounts for passengers aged under 26 and residents of low socioeconomic status living in northern and southern Israeli cities and towns.

In the second phase, which will come into effect in a few months, women aged 62 and above and men aged 67 and over will be eligible to travel for free, replacing the previous threshold of 75 and older.

Israeli Transport Minister Miri Regev said, “The reform is intended to bring the peripheral regions closer to the center, reduce geographic and social disparities, create job opportunities, reduce the cost of living, and encourage the use of public transportation.”

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