This upcoming Friday, November 22nd will mark the launch of the free transportation services functioning on Shabbat (Saturday) in Israel’s metropolitan area. The weekend transportation network will connect the cities of Ramat HaSharon, Giv’atayim, Kiryat Ono and Tel Aviv-Yafo. The project is already gaining widespread interest from additional municipalities and is expected to provide a suitable transportation solution for approximately four million metropolitan residents.
The bus service will be operated by the “Kavim 4-5” transportation company which won a bid to operate network-utilizing minibuses with 19 seats each. The network will be comprised of six routes that run along 300 kilometers and include over 500 stops. The routes will provide passengers with fast accessibility to city centers as well as various surrounding neighborhoods, whilst taking into consideration areas characterized by Shabbat-observing residents.
The buses will run every half hour between 18:00 on Friday until 02:00 on Saturday, and then again from 09:00 – 17:00 on Saturday (excluding bus number 710 from Kiryat Ono which will run every hour). The buses and relevant stations will be branded accordingly and will feature dedicated maps. Every third bus (arriving every hour and a half) will be accessible to people with disabilities. Passengers will also be able to order an accessible bus ahead of time.
Real-time information and schedules will be communicated to users via the common transportation apps and a dedicated website https://busofash.co.il/ (currently only available in Hebrew or https://visit.tel-aviv.gov.il/move/in-tel-aviv for information in English). At this stage, the transportation service is offered free of charge and passengers will be able to move freely from one bus line to another.
Actions are being taken in order to include additional cities of the metropolitan area into the venture with the goal of improving accessibility and reduce the citizens’ dependence on private cars. The annual costs for running the weekend transportation system for a whole year is estimated at approximately NIS 12.5 million and the budget is expected to grow as other cities may join the venture.
Ron Huldai, Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo: “The ability to move during the weekend from one point to another is a fundamental right. The metropolitan transportation network was created in order to answer the need of a large part of the Israeli population during the weekends, in the absence of public transportation. The metropolitan transportation network is a particularly important venture, the latest addition to other initiatives of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality such as AutoTel and Tel-O-Fun.”
Israel Gal, Mayor of Kiryat Ono: “Efficient public transportation throughout the week is crucial and will lead to a reduction of traffic congestion. The new transportation service will be extremely valuable to the young people who can now move freely during the weekend and the older citizens who will be able to spend their weekends in the big city. The new service will result in a decrease in the use of private cars and will therefore reduce the cost of living.”
Avi Gruber, Mayor of Ramat Hasharon: “The new transportation system is a groundbreaking initiative for all the residents in the metropolitan area. The project was made possible thanks the cooperation between the authorities in the metropolitan area whose residents will be able to travel freely during the weekends throughout the cities partnering in the venture.”
• Link to a map with bus lines and stations: https://bit.ly/2KtsDnm
• Bus Routes and stops: https://visit.tel-aviv.gov.il/move/in-tel-aviv