Cab Fares to Rise in Israeli Cities, Intercity Tab to Drop

On the surface, the new fare structure should also save passengers in relatively rural areas a lot of money, but there’s a catch

Cabs in Tel Aviv, July 2, 2018.
\ Moti Milrod

New cab fares within cities will increase by 12.9% in January, but the cost of a taxi ride between cities will actually fall by 6.7%. The revised fares will be calculated on a new kind of taxi meter that drivers will be required to install by January.

In addition to existing differences in rates for trips taken during the day or night, for example, or during the week as opposed to Shabbat, the difference between urban and inter-city rates will now also be reflected. A trip between Jerusalem and the Tel Aviv suburb of Givatayim that currently costs 300 shekels ($85) during the day on a weekday and 360 shekels at night and on Shabbat will be reduced to 280 shekels and 335 shekels respectively. Taxi fares to Ben-Gurion International Airport are also slated to go down.

On the surface, the new fare structure should also save passengers in relatively rural areas a lot of money, but there’s a catch. A cab ride from the Acre train station to a small community in the Galilee will drop by dozens of shekels but cab drivers know that the prospect of finding a passenger in the rural community that is looking to ride back to Acre are negligible. There is therefore concern that passengers using apps who designate that they are going to a rural community will have a harder time finding a cab driver who will respond to the request.

The changes in the fares will be calculated on new technologically advanced taxi meters that will make it possible to more closely supervise the drivers and curb price gouging, tax evasion and the forging of taxi licenses. The new meters will also give the driver the option of picking up a number of passengers at different locations, if the passengers consent. They would then split the fare (an option that also exists now).

The drivers and taxi apps will have an incentive to operate on a ride-sharing basis. During the shared portion of the trip, each passenger will pay 80% of the regular fare, but the driver will collect 160% of the standard price. For three passengers picked up separately, each will pay 50% of the standard fare. The new option promises to boost the drivers’ income per trip and also increase profits for taxi apps such as Gett, Yango and Uber, but it may harm the quality of service that the public receives.

Although the deadline for the installation of the new meter is January, it has yet to get the approval of the Standards Institution of Israel. In addition, there are technical steps that will be necessary before they can be used, such as linking the meters to taxi apps and ensuring information security.

The meter, which will transmit the location of the cab at any given time along with detailed information about the route and the fare, will cost the driver 3,500 shekels to install. The data will be accessible to the Transportation Ministry and the Tax Authority. Installation of the new meters is mandatory.