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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Israel Labor Job Actions Spread to Transportation, Tourism

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Israeli transportation and tourism employees will carry out a work slowdown on Wednesday in solidarity with striking postal workers, the nation’s Histadrut Labor Federation has announced.

The move comes in response to another failure in negotiations between the union and the Finance Ministry to resolve a struggle over fate of 1,500 postal workers.

Both the transportation and tourism ministries will be on strike on Wednesday. In addition, no mail will be delivered to any government ministry or embassy, and no registered mail will be delivered as well.

Postal workers will also conduct a two-hour “strike walk” outside the Tel Aviv Cinematheque as well, from 11 am to 1 pm.

Negev Loses Airport Night Trains

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Residents of southern Israel – particularly those living in the periphery communities in the Negev – will no longer have the option of taking the train to and from the airport after 11:00 p.m.

A spokesperson for Israel Railways told The Jewish Press on Thursday morning the service just didn’t pay for itself. “The government and the railway company made the decision together,” said the spokesperson, who added the figures totaled only an average of five or six riders per night on the line. “It wasn’t cost effective.”

Instead, it was decided the Metropoline Bus Service will take over the route, she said. Bus #469 will begin at the Arlozorov station in Tel Aviv and then make a stop at the airport, travel to Kiryat Gat and then go to the central bus station in Be’er Sheva.

That’s a solution for folks who live in the city of Be’er Sheva itself, perhaps – but what about those who live in the small periphery towns where bus service doesn’t exist overnight?

“Tough luck, baby,” said one consumer. “We’re stuck with paying hundreds of shekels for travel after 11 pm, just like we always have – and that after first spending hours traveling to the other cities just to get a little closer. Instead of paying NIS 600 to get home, I end up paying NIS 300 from Be’er Sheva, but spend three more hours after a 12-hour flight and another hour or more in baggage claims. Forget it.”

The Negev region comprises 60 percent of the nation’s land mass – but its travel network has yet to be developed to the point that even half of its communities have any access to railway service at all.

When asked why there is still no railway branch route to Arad, for example — while Dimona, a city of similar size and population, has had one for several years – the spokesperson for Israel Railways could not find a reason. Arad, a ‘clean air’ resort town located about 45 minutes east of Be’er Sheva and 25 minutes west of the Dead Sea, is in the midst of a major development boom due to the expansion of Route 31, which runs between the two points.

The Nevatim air base is located near Route 31 – described in Hebrew media as ‘death road’ due to the high number of motor vehicle fatalities that have occurred along the highway — as is the Nahal army base at Tel Arad.

New Runway Opens at Ben Gurion International Airport

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Israel has added a 21st runway to Ben Gurion International Airport, just in time for the summer tourism season.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz called the project, “an additional stage in the implementation of the Open Skies policy, allowing more competition between airlines that will result in lower prices for airfares.”

The first plane to hit the tarmac was that of an El Al flight arriving in Lod from Rhodes.

Peace Must Be Near: Embassy Ordering Americans to Avoid Israeli Taxis

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

The following email was sent out by the US Embassy in Israel:

From: mailto:amctelaviv@state.gov
Sent: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 7:19 AM
Subject:
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: Response to December 22 Bus Bombing in Tel Aviv

U.S. citizen employees of the U.S. Embassy and their families are temporarily prohibited from using sheruts, the mini-bus shared taxis. The temporary prohibition on sheruts is in effect for the next two weeks as we assess the security implications of the December 22 bomb attack on a public bus in the Bat Yam neighborhood of Tel Aviv. This restriction is in addition to the longstanding prohibition on the use of public buses and their associated terminals and bus stops in Israel.

No mention that this minor transportation disruption is the result of Secretary of State Kerry trying to force negotiations on the Palestinian Authority, and this is their official response.

Incidentally, the reason only mini-buses are mentioned is probably because the embassy staff wouldn’t be caught dead on an Israeli public bus — probably for fear of being caught dead.

So far, according to the Shin bet, Israel’s internal security agency, the monthly acts of terrorism have risen from 82 back in July, when public opinion wasn’t so aware of the negotiations between Tzipi and her Pal Pals, to 167 in November, when it’s becoming clear that the U.S. may manage to squeeze some form of an agreement out of the two sides.

This is the pattern in Israeli-Arab peace talks since 1994, when we were blessed by the Oslo accords, and since then every time we hear of another phase in the negotiations, more blood is shed.

Michael Wolfowicz, who blogs for the Times of Israel, suggests this is not unique to the Palestinians, and all over the world terrorists try to prevent peace and stability by doing what they do best: murdering civilians.

Except that over here we’ve seen that these acts of terror are being committed by government decree, both in Gaza and in the PA. Calls to arms are official on the part of our negotiations partners, who wants peace with us like we want a hole in the head.

Sadly, both sides have been receiving more holes in the head than anything else, since this madness began, back in 1993.

High-Speed Train Planned to Whisk Passengers to Old City

Monday, October 21st, 2013

A high-speed train now under construction from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem may be extended to reach the Old City, according to an Israel Railways and the Transportation Ministry plan that will be stiffly opposed by Jerusalem planning authorities.

The planned line includes a 1.5 mile tunnel linking the central train station, being built across the street from the Central Bus Station, with the Mamilla mall that is located directly opposite the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City.

Planners are afraid that the planned rail line will take funds away from extending Jerusalem’s light rail system, which now consists of only one line. Three more lines are being planned.

Open Skies Ahead for Israel

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz signed an Open Skies agreement with the EU on Monday in Luxembourg. The agreement which is to be gradually implemented over the next 5 years, until it goes fully into effect in 2018, should lower prices significantly on flights between Israel and Europe.

Open Skies will allow EU and Israeli airlines to operate direct flights to each others airports, and not be restricted to specific routes or airports.

When first introduced, the plan was very controversial in Israel, as El Al needs to expend a large sum of money on security that European airlines don’t need to, and that would have made it impossible for El Al to compete.

The Israeli government decided to shoulder almost the entire cost of El Al’s security expenses, which should allow the Israeli airline to be competitive.

Life in Israel: A Complaint to Egged

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

Egged is Israel’s main bus company. Every day, without exaggeration, I would guess they move millions of people in hundreds of cities, towns and villages in Israel. The challenge they often face – is not forgetting that each of those million is a person. You’ll often see the last person get on the bus…and still the bus doesn’t move because as the driver was preparing to leave, he noticed someone running for his bus and he chose to wait.

For the most part, they are efficient and do their best to get people where they need to go. For the most part, they are kind and patient. They’ll greet you as you get on the bus and respond in kind as you wish them a good day. They’ll go that extra bit to explain where something is…

And sometimes, they go beyond…

In 2003, I wrote this:

Egged Prepares for Gulf II: Egged has trained 100 drivers to drive with gas masks and protective suits so that they can drive INTO an area where potentially bio/chem weapons have landed to evacuate wounded).

In 2008, I wrote about how a bus driver heard that a soldier had left his backpack on a bus. When he realized, he jumped on the next bus and explained to the driver what had happened. That driver radioed ahead and the second driver pulled to the side of the road and waited for them to catch up so the soldier could retrieve his backpack. (Even the Bus Drivers Love Them).

I also wrote another story in that post about how bus drivers in Israel sometimes do amazing things, like this:

When the bus driver realized that a former prime minister had boarded his bus, he insisted on driving the astonished leader to his doorstep, even though it was off the usual bus route. Embarrassed at the attention, the leader tried to argue with the bus driver, but the applause of the people on the bus made it clear that they agreed with the driver.

More recently, a bus driver was confronted with a crying a first grader who had missed his stop. He turned the bus around and took the boy home before resuming his trip.

So, having told of the amazing, I feel free to tell about the less than amazing. Sadly, the less than amazing is often more the norm and for this reason, I’ve decided to write this post.

This morning, Aliza and four of her friends went to school. A bus, the Egged 175 pulled into her stop at 10:15 - perfect timing to get the girls to school at 10:30 (they had a weekend event and so were given permission to come in late). The bus pulled in on time – the driver refused to let the girls get on the bus – and merely yelled at someone else to get out of the bus using the rear door.

He didn’t bother to explain – rather, he left five young girls upset on the side of the road, missing the only bus that would get them to school on time. I decided I would complain – and I have. I could write this to Egged, but they don’t want phone calls. They prefer we fax our complaints… and honestly, I doubt a call or a fax or an email will change anything. I don’t think if they will track down that driver or not.

I would have preferred the driver leave me standing on the side of the road, in the heat of the day, causing me to be late, than leave five girls standing there as he did. Perhaps there was a reason – perhaps they were sending out a new bus and he’d been ordered to end his trip at that point and not take on additional passengers.

All it would have taken was his opening the door and explaining this to the girls – that act of kindness, of patience, would have been the difference between their calmly waiting for another bus or finding an alternative, and the phone call I received from an upset child who was going to be late through no fault of her own.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

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