Hundreds of thousands of Israelis will be able to take advantage of new fare discounts set to come into effect on public transportation next month.
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Transportation and Road Safety Minister Yisrael Katz is expected to approve the order expanding the discounts in the next few days, which will also equalize the percentage fare reductions on buses and trains.
The discounts will cover anyone under the age of 18, parents with open strollers, recipients of certain National Insurance benefits, registered disabled people, blind passengers and those accompanying them, national service volunteers and soldiers who are not drawing a salary.
Passengers under 18 will get a 50 percent discount on all public transportation, which is more extensive than the discount they currently enjoy. Recipients of National Insurance Institute benefits now set to qualify for transportation discounts include those receiving survivors’ benefits and income supplements. They will get a 33 percent fare reduction.
The disabled, including disabled veterans, will also be getting a 33 percent fare discount. Up to now, disabled veterans had not been entitled to any reduced fares.
Blind passengers will not have to pay any fare at all on public transportation. They previously received a 50 percent fare reduction, but only on fares up to 16.50 shekels. Those accompanying the blind will now enjoy a 50 percent discount.
For the first time, national service volunteers and participants in six-month pre-army preparatory courses will travel free on public transportation (excepting bus lines to Eilat).
In the past, parents with open strollers were entitled to free transportation except for morning rush hour (meaning 7 A.M.-9 A.M.), but the exemption will now be available throughout the day.