Thursday, March 14, 2013

Amazing Timing, G-d is Great!

I guess this would make better reading if there had been some suspense here, but I'm giving you the ending before the story.  Sorry, that the title is a "spoiler."

Those of us Israelis who travel on public transportation on a regular basis have been using these personalized prepaid cards called RavKav, which we finally have figured out how to use. There's one big problem with them, and that's knowing how many trips are left. 

On occasion, admittedly too rarely, I fill them up with two types of tickets.  One type is for the Jerusalem lightrail and buses, and the other is good to take me to and from Shiloh and Jerusalem plus Sha'ar Binyamin where I work.  The Shiloh-Jerusalem tickets always get used up first, no matter how many I pay for, but I can always pay cash.  If I'm in Jerusalem without a valid Rav-Kav I can pay on the bus but not on the train.  And if I buy a one-time ticket at a train machine, I won't get my senior discount.  Another quirk is that if you've paid for a few "series" of tickets they are listed separately on the card, not added in one sum.  When I've asked the clerk at the bus station how many rides I have left, I'm told:

"Three and five and twelve."
The clerk doesn't see the number twenty on his machine.

The train's ticketing/paying machine isn't good at opening a new series.  It just doesn't seem to recognize them.  I've had a few panicky moments when the red "empty" shows on the trains "validation" machine when I'm certain and can even prove I've recently paid.  I even ran off the train to take the next one when I saw an inspector.  And then that very same day I paid with the same card on the bus, and it showed that I had a full series left.

Since I'm always rushing and need to have reading glasses to see numbers on the machines, I never get to check my card.  I very, very rarely take the bus home from the Central Bus Station where I can fill Rav-Kav for both types of trips by using a credit card.  Yesterday, since I needed to buy something from a store in the bus station and I wasn't in a rush to get home, I figured my Rav-Kav was due for some filling up.  There hadn't been any rides left on it between Shiloh and Jerusalem for weeks.

I handed it to the clerk, luckily not one of the usual scowling ones who make these purchases so unnecessarily unpleasant, and asked her how many rides I have left:
"What?  I just used it."
"Well, I guess you came her on its very last ride."
"Baruch Hashem, what a miracle!!"
Yes, my friends, G-d is GREAT!


Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

on the bus, you can ask the driver to "print a report" and it will show all the tickets you have on the Rav Kav - how many rides are left in each price category, even if you have more than one series in the same category. the bus ticket machine used to print out a ticket (even with Rav Kav) that would show this automatically, but now you don't get a printed ticket, and the driver will only print out the report if you request it.

goyisherebbe said...

Thanks, Leah, that really helps.

Rickismom said...

With Dan company in Tel Aviv, the slip of paper you get when you pay tells you how many rides you have left (of that kind of trip), which is very helpfull. I have seen that on the light rail this is not so. Why not? If they give out stiff fines for not paying, they should make it easy for a person to know how many rides they have left.

Sandra said...

When we have been in Jerusalem, all these stories about what can happen on the light rail if your fare is not paid or right, have ensured we don't use it. We walk miles or get the bus, so we don't get into trouble! Surely all the transport could be coordinated on to one card....or would that be too much to hope for?!

Batya said...

Leah, I'm usually on crowded buses in a rush and must find a seat.
rm, we used to get those printed papers. No printer/paper on the train.
Sandra, it is supposed to be a compatible system. But it's like some families, in which not everyone gets along....

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

A friend who used a rav kav while in Jlem for a few months recently was just telling me about its quirks the other day... shudder.
How do you say "please print a report" in Hebrew???

Batya said...

Jennifer, this is Jerusalem, Holyland, G-d is needed for it to work.

Jaga said...

Hi. I have a question.
So if I get a printed piece of paper. altough I am using a Rav Kav (Dan buses in TLV) it is just a reminder about how many rides left?
But it doesn't happen often? when does it happen?

Jaga said...

If I get the piece of paper printed, tough I am using a Rav Kav, is this just a report?
But how come some people get it and some don't?
Besides 2nd time my new Rav KAv card made a red light altough it was 90% full.