Yesterday I did a quick trip from Haifa to Jerusalem to visit my friend David who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) a few years ago. I wanted to see him one more time before returning to the US.
When I got on the bus in Haifa, I purchased a round trip ticket for 71.40. It is my understanding that any intercity bus ticket includes a local bus transfer on arrival, so when I got to Jerusalem I used the ticket to get on the local bus and the driver punched the ticket. This turned out to be a mistake.
This morning, I got on the bus back to Haifa and presented my ticket, and the driver told me it was already punched.
"but that was for a bus within Jerusalem!" I insisted.
"there's no such thing as using this ticket within Jerusalem" he disputed
"well, that's what happened!"
We argued back and forth a bit, and I was almost about to pay another 42.00 for a new one way ticket, but then I told myself I should argue a bit more - it's the Israeli way!
"look, I'm from outside of Israel, I made one little mistake. Now I should have to pay 42.00 for that?" I tried.
"I believe you, but I can't do anything!"
We went back and forth a bit more as others boarded the bus and paid, including the "wait, wait" hand gesture a lot. Finally some progress...
"ok," he said, "explain to me what you did"
I went through it step by step, pointing out that with yesterday's date on the ticket it was pretty unlikely that I had already used it once to return to Haifa and was now trying to reuse it twice.
Finally he agreed that I should just pay the price of a local bus, because I had accidentally gotten that for free yesterday. That seemed fair to me, but I wanted to clarify how to use my transfer ticket back in Haifa. He started to think about it, then just said "just get on and you'll pay for your local bus in Haifa." He punched the ticket a second time in a made-up place and handed it back.
Success! A good feeling to win a dispute with an israeli bus driver right before leaving :)