New train vouchers on offer ahead of Israel Railways’ reopening Monday

With each train limited to 500 passengers to prevent crowding amid pandemic, passengers must reserve their place in advance and are encouraged to arrive at stations early

A man walks by trains at Yitzhak Navon station in Jerusalem on May 14, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
A man walks by trains at Yitzhak Navon station in Jerusalem on May 14, 2020 (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

With train services set to resume in a limited capacity on Monday, Israel Railways on Friday began offering new mandatory ride vouchers on its website.

With trains limited to a maximum of 500 passengers each in order to prevent crowding amid the coronavirus pandemic, travelers must book their places in advance.

The vouchers are not a replacement for tickets and travelers must still buy a stub or swipe their Rav Kav cards at the turnstiles. Passengers must also carry a valid ID identical to the one appearing on the voucher.

A detailed explanation on the new voucher system is available in English here. Vouchers will also be provided at train station kiosks in cases where seats remain available.

Trains have been halted for three months and the date for resuming service has been postponed several times.

Rail has been one of the last major services to remain shut as the country increasingly opened up over recent weeks. But the issue has come under increasing criticism, with the lack of trains causing more crowding on buses, leading some to question whether the limitations were defeating their purpose.

Virus cases have steadily climbed since lockdown restrictions were eased, with Thursday-Friday seeing a new record of 349 new cases, numbers not seen since April.

Government officials have warned new limitations could be imposed if numbers continue to rise, although it was decided to restart rail services regardless.

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