Thursday, 23 October 2014

What To Do When Your Rav Kav No Longer Works Properly on the Bus

It can be a frightening experience! You've got your Rav Kav for bus travel in Israel - that "awesome" green card (which often needs its own "green card" to actually get permission to work!) You've filled it up (so to speak) with 10 new clips for rides in Jerusalem and you've paid! 

Next ride in town and you find the computer reader on the bus doesn't read the card correctly. The driver tells you there is nothing left on the card, but you insist you just purchased a new Kartisia (bus card of 10 tickets.) Again he tells you you're having him on "Geveret", or "Adoni" and launches into a tirade to get you to purchase a new ticket or get off the bus. Again you explain the situation. He forces the ticket down onto the reader holding it really hard on the computer reader. Then he twists it - practically breaking it in half. Finally the machine clicks and takes your payment.

Don't expect an apology from the driver - even if the ticket that's printed clearly indicates 8 rides still left! The drivers just don't have time for the faults of the Rav Kav company - and with an abundance (sad to say) of a lot of dishonesty of people jumping on buses without paying - he'll tend to be adamant that you pay or get off - whether the ticket should be working or not!

So you get on another bus, and it turns out you go through the same process. Actually you should do something soon, because if you don't, the card might get broken from the force of the driver pressing it on the reader - and then you'll be left with nothing! So here's what you need to know. Following this advice may save you hours - so listen well!

The first thing is a trip into the Central Bus Station in the center of Jerusalem. Don't get excited thinking it will be an easy morning/afternoon. It won't! In fact, you're in for some serious frustration! 

When you arrive there, do not visit the main Kupot (stations that sell the Egged tickets - situated on the third floor). And if it's the last thing in the world you think needs to be done - still - whatever you do, do not visit the Modi'in (information) counter. Should you visit these counters for help, you will be shooed away in no time. As for whatever "information" means, you'll be hearing something like it's just not their concern. In fact, all of the Rav Kav problems are not their concern - except for one, which if you don't realise it before it's too late - you'll be wasting another morning...

That's what happened to us, and after finally learning the ropes, we understood what they wanted. When you arrive at the Tachana HaMerkazit, head to floor 3. Take a tour down a long passage until you reach the main Rav Kav offices. You'll know you're there when you see some 100 people waiting - with the exact same problem as you have! Take a ticket. You'll definitely know you're in the right place when the ticket number says "824" and you realise that the digital display calling the next customer reads "655". Yes, it's going to be a long wait. Apparently the Rav Kav system is not working as splendidly as they thought it would.

When you get through to your turn, you'll have to show your I.D., your ticket, explain your problem and ask them for a refund for the outstanding "clicks" on the ticket. They're not enthusiastic about the complainers. It could be that they never assumed the "faults" department would have only happy people coming through! You'll also often find the group of unhelpful people chatting with each other, shouting at each other, shouting at other clients, or perhaps having coffee. "Look... number 655 has come through and we see that already number 824 has been taken from the number machine... we've got plenty of time!"

If you do survive this experience, they'll take your details - but they will not issue you a refund! They won't give you a credit for the faulty "clicks" still on the card either. And please - don't expect an apology (or a cup of coffee!) They'll then tell you to wait a few weeks, after which you will receive a letter in the mailbox telling you they are going to refund you after all!!! Whoopee! There is a catch... you must redeem the voucher within 90 days, so make sure you do, because you'll probably also notice that the date of issue corresponds to the date of the complaint or shortly thereafter! Time is ticking, don't imagine you really have 90 days left... that was since they issued the letter before posting it a few weeks later - and this "time" is certainly in the favour of Rav Kav! (If you don't do your homework fast, you will effectively be giving them extra payment for rides you never took due to a faulty card!!!)

Part 2...

Once you get your letter of "refund", you go back to Egged/Rav Kav again. But - though it be that the Kupot would not talk to you before about your problems - nor would the Modi'in assist - the tables have now turned. Rav Kav will no longer help you and indeed - you MUST go to the Kupot ONLY!

Should you indeed make the mistake of visiting Rav Kav to discuss the problem card, after waiting another few hours at the Rav Kav station, and take your turn (number 967), you will be met this time with a very straight - or angry face. Before you are even seated, the "gentleman" or "gentlelady" will ask you if you have read your letter well! You'll try to explain you did - but they will shout at you. They'll then send you back to the Kupot place. They will also explain to you that you have not been there - and will not believe your story about the Kupot having clearly said that they have nothing to do with Rav Kav problems - as from the visit before.

Look - you have to judge them favourably here. In all honesty, one can clearly see there is no proper communication between the different departments of Rav Kav or Egged offices. The poor worker (earning his minimum wage just like everyone else in the country) really doesn't have the patience to deal with the *hundreds* of people coming through with the same issues we had... and so his response is pretty much programmed in already!

You'll be shamefacedly sent back to the Kupot - where surprisingly, you'll meet someone who will now help you after all! Though that be the case, he will require you to pay the additional amounts to re-fill your ticket again and will not give you a refund or credit for the amount due - until you pay for the additional tickets! He too is not happy with this dreadful situation which no doubt, he must deal with from hundreds and thousands of unsatisfied customers!

So there it is. Here's the summary:

1. Broken card not working - frustrated driver. More frustrated customer.
2. Visit Egged - Tachana HaMerkazit. GO TO RAV KAV OFFICE - (and take a ticket quickly!!!)
3. After reading your Bible - from start to finish (or any other lengthy book), you'll be just in time for your appointment with "Mr/s Helpful!"
4. Show your ID and report the problem. (Don't forget to say "thank you", smile, and feel like a million dollars!)
5. Go home... wait for a few weeks.
6. Check post box regularly for the golden letter.
7. Once said letter arrives, you've got 90 days to repair the damage (from the date of the letter two months before... not from date of receipt!)
8. Go back to Egged - but this time to the Kuppot for a "refund."
9. Pay the extra amount they ask (whatever it is.) Don't argue. It won't help!
10. Have your brand new working card "charged."

Enjoy the rest of your day - and all your further bus trips. Rav Kav is here to stay!

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