The reform affects busses, trains and light rails

Today marks a significant advancement in Israel's public transport system, with the launch of an ambitious fare reform, spearheaded by Transport Minister Miri Regev. This initiative, aptly named "Transport Fairness," is set to reshape the landscape of public transportation accessibility across the nation.

At the heart of this reform are measures designed to acknowledge and reward the contributions of various segments of Israeli society. Notably, discharged soldiers, within their first year after service, will now benefit from free travel on buses and trains, a gesture of gratitude for their service to the nation's security. Additionally, the reform introduces a 50% fare reduction for residents living in the geographical periphery, directly targeting the reduction of regional disparities and promoting inclusivity.

The reform extends its benefits to younger Israelis, with passengers aged 26 and under, as well as disabled individuals and recipients of National Insurance Institute allowances, enjoying discounted fares. This move not only supports the younger population but also reinforces Israel's commitment to social welfare and accessibility for all.

While the reform went into effect on March 25, it's essential to note that it will unfold in stages. The immediate changes are part of a broader, visionary plan, funded initially by an improvised budget of NIS 360 million annually. Despite the absence of a permanent budget allocation from the Ministry of Finance, the government's commitment to this initiative underscores its significance.

Looking ahead, the second phase of the reform promises even greater inclusivity. Free travel will be extended to individuals aged 75 and over, and in a progressive move, this benefit will soon encompass all women aged 62 and over and men aged 67 and over. Additionally, further discounts for residents of certain socioeconomic neighborhoods are on the horizon, though financing for this next stage is currently under deliberation.

Transport Minister Miri Regev's vision for the reform is clear: to bridge geographic and social divides, foster job creation, alleviate the cost of living, and encourage public transport use. By making transportation more accessible and affordable, the reform aims to connect peripheral regions with the country's center more effectively, promoting equality and opportunity across Israeli society.

This reform is not just about adjusting fares; it's a testament to Israel's dedication to enhancing the quality of life for its citizens, recognizing the contributions of its servicemen and women, and striving towards a more connected and equitable society. As Israel embarks on this journey towards transport fairness, it sets a commendable precedent in addressing the needs of its diverse population, ensuring that public transportation is a viable, accessible option for all.

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