The Belgian tourist receiving a fine
The Belgian tourist receiving a fine Photo: Efraim Moreno

This is the way the Jerusalem light rail company CityPass welcomes tourists. A Belgian tourist who did not know how to buy a ticket received a fine from train inspectors without even knowing what had happened.

Ephraim Morano, who was a witness to the incident said that "today at 12:30 as I was travelling on the light rail from the center of town to Mt. Herzl, the inspectors got on the train at the central bus station. After they had checked my ticket, a Belgian tourist came and asked the inspector how to pay on the train. The inspector said that she could not pay and told her to alight but the doors had closed already. The inspector told her to alight at the next station.

"After the inspector had checked other passengers, the tourist asked whether the train was going towards the center of town and was told that it was going in the opposite direction. Up to this point the inspectors gave professional and courteous advice but then came an amazing turnabout. The inspector asked for her passport in order to 'help her' and without any explanation and while she was waiting for directions to reach the center of town, the inspectors wrote out a fine for her."

Morano added that "To add insult to injury, the inspectors asked the train's control center to photograph the incident so that they would have proof that she received a fine. The inspectors gave her back her passport with the report and when I asked them to explain to her in English that they had fined her, they told me not to intervene and pointed to the English writing on the report.

"After I explained to her that she had received a fine of 180 NIS, she was shocked and could not understand how from asking for help she had turned into a criminal."

CityPass said in response, "We are sorry for the unpleasantness caused to the tourist but travelling on the train without any ticket or with a ticket which was not verified is a violation of the law as defined by the state's authorities. It should be noted that this is written on bulletin boards and announced to passengers through the loudspeaker system in three languages at the stations and on the trains themselves."

Last week a mother complained that her 12 year old daughter had been taken off the train, a police car had been brought for her and she was fined and left at the station alone.

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