|Front of a Rav-Kav card|
|Manager||Transportation Ministry of Israel|
|Currency||Israeli New Sheqel|
|Validity||Dan Bus Company|
|Veolia Transport Israel|
|Nazareth United Bus Services|
|Egged (Limited service)|
|Retailed||Central bus stations|
|Selected Israel Railways stations|
Rav-Kav (Hebrew: רב-קו) is a form of electronic ticketing used in several bus companies and the national railway in Israel. Launched in August 2007, Rav-Kav was expected to be integrated by all public transportation companies nationwide by late 2009, bureaucratic problems have caused this date to be pushed back several times.
Once the project is completed, Rav-Kav is expected to replace all the existing paper tickets, and serve as a joint fare collection system for the different public transportation operators in the country. It is also expected that Rav-Kav will shorten boarding times significantly, as the existing system of purchasing tickets from the bus driver in cash is considered to be messy and dangerous.
Rav-Kav was first introduced in August 2007 by the Ministry of Transportation. Operations started on August 28, 2007 by Kavim, a small bus company serving the suburban cities of Kiryat Ono, Or Yehuda, Yehud and Petah Tikva, as well as several other destinations in the Jezreel Valley area in northern Israel. Several other small companies were to start offering Rav-Kav in the following months, however these were all delayed.
The first major company to offer Rav-Kav was Dan, which serves many bus routes in the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area. Although Dan was originally supposed to offer Rav-Kav to all passengers in August 2008, Dan only started limited service for student card holders in October, and full service started in January 2009. In March 2010, Dan stopped issuing paper monthly passes, which can now be purchased only with Rav-Kav.
Egged, the largest bus company in the country, did not have a final date set for the introduction of Rav-Kav at the time of its announcement. This was attributed to its large fleet of buses which required a longer integration period. On May 25, 2010, Egged started offering limited Rav-Kav services in the city of Rehovot. These services were later expanded to Karmiel and the Sharon areas, and they include monthly passes and special student and elderly discounts but not the pay as you go product. Egged has provided full Rav-Kav service in the Gush Dan Metropolitan Area starting on July 1, 2011, and joined the existing joint fare collection system between Kavim, Dan and Metropoline. Egged also started offering Rav-Kav service in Jerusalem and Haifa in July 2011.
Israel Railways also did not have a set date for the introduction, however the ministry's spokesman stated at the time of Rav-Kav's introduction that it would be within several months. Rav-Kav was fully integrated by Israel Railways in early 2012.
CityPass, the Jerusalem Light Rail operator, started offering Rav-Kav in May 2011, in advance of the opening of the first line in August.
The introduction of Rav-Kav cards are part of a larger effort to create bus priority in order to quicken the process of riding a bus and encourage people to use public transport over cars. This effort is being led by groups like Transport Today and Tomorrow, which aims to expand sustainable transportation in Israel.
Rav-Kav cards can be either Personal or Anonymous. Personal cards carry the passenger's name and picture, and allow the purchase of a wider variety of products such as monthly passes, student passes and senior-citizen passes. Also, Personalization provides insurance in case of a lost or stolen card. Personal cards can only be issued at the designated purchase points. Transactions carried out on personal cards are anonymously tracked for statistical purposes.
There has been much criticism over the implementation of Rav-Kav, primarily over delays and the lack of a joint fare collection system for all public transportation companies, which severely limit the effectiveness of the card. Also, there have been concerns about the Ministry of Transportation's lack of regulation of the project, as it failed to prevent the delays and bureaucratic issues which have plagued it from the start. There has also been criticism about exclusion of sherut taxis from the early stages of the programme, since they are a very common and popular form of public transportation in Israel.
The Rav-Kav project suffered many delays since it was first introduced. It was originally intended that all companies providing public transportation services will integrate Rav-Kav by late 2009. However as of August 2011, Egged, the largest bus company in the country, offers Rav-Kav only in metropolitan areas, leaving the majority of the intercity bus network uncovered. Also, some of the companies which already offer Rav-Kav only provide limited services. This gives Rav-Kav a smaller customer base.
Joint fare collection
The ongoing decentralization of Israel's bus network has created a market of twelve different public transportation companies, and in some cases different companies provide services in the same area. This caused a problem for passengers who require the services of more than one company, since they now have to pay separately for each company's services. Rav-Kav was expected to solve this problem as a joint fare collection system. Finally, after much delay, a temporary joint collection system was implemented on May 3, 2010, between the three bus companies currently providing service within Gush Dan- Dan, Kavim, and Metropoline (which only began operating in the area on this date with its acquisition of seveal bus lines from Dan serving the Sharon region). Customers can now purchase pay-as-you-go credit and use it on any of the three companies in the area. As part of a major reform of the area's bus system, Egged will join the system on July 1, 2011. However this is a temporary system devised by the companies, and it is not yet known when a full joint collection system will be implemented in other areas or between other companies.
Share Taxis, known in Hebrew as Moniyyot Sherut, are a popular form of public transit in Israel, used for both regular commuting as well as occasional trips. The fares are comparable to competing bus routes; however, they are currently left out of the Rav-Kav roll out process. The Sherut Taxi Organization claims that leaving the taxis without Rav-Kav would harm their customers and the taxi companies, and that they had demanded to be included in Rav-Kav before the project began. The Ministry of Transportation expressed its support to include taxis in the project. In October 2011, a study was commenced to examine ways of integrating Rav-Kav for payment in Sheruts.
- "תחבורה ציבורית: יש כרטיס חכם" [Public Transportation: There is a Smart Card]. Ynetnews (in Hebrew). 20 August 2007. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "מה עלה בגורלו של הרב-קו?" [What happened to Rav-Kav?]. Ynetnews. 18 September 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "דן, קווים ומטרופולין מציגות: ערך צבור משותף" [Dan, Kavim and Metropoline present: Joint fare collection]. News1 (in Hebrew). 13 May 2010. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "מוניות השירות: גם אצלנו רוצים את הרב-קו" [Sherut taxis: We also want Rav-Kav]. News1 (in Hebrew). 10 November 2009. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- Rav-Kav information from Dan (Hebrew)
- Rav-Kav information from Egged (Hebrew)
- Rav-Kav information from Metrodan (Hebrew)
- Rav-Kav information from Egged Taavura (Hebrew)
- Rav Kav information from Veolia (Hebrew)
- Rav-Kav technical information (Israel Ministry of Transport) (Hebrew)