After many many years of Egged’s monopoly of Jerusalem’s bus lines, Superbus will be taking over many of the capital city’s bus lines over the next several years, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel’s Transportation Ministry made a decision in February to end Egged’s monopoly in the city, with the goal of improving the transportation system in Israel’s largest city. Egged is Israel’s oldest and largest bus company.
The government tender divided Jerusalem into three parts and the center of Jerusalem was won by Superbus. Bus routes in the southern part of the city will remain with Egged and the winner of the tender for the northern party of the city will be chosen in the summer.
In the first stage, Superbus will take over about 25 bus routes in the center of the city, about 40% of Jerusalem’s bus lines.
“There will be new, more efficient lines added, and the lines that exist will run more frequently, to the extent that the total number of kilometers traveled every day by bus will double,” Elad Malka, a Jerusalem city councilman from the Hitorerut Party, told the Post in February.
“Currently, a lot of Jerusalem’s bus lines travel through the center of the city, which adds to congestion and makes them all take a lot longer. We will add new express lines that connect centers of employment with residential areas directly, so that, for example, a ride from Har Homa to Givat Shaul will take 30-40 minutes, instead of several hours.
“And breaking up Egged’s monopoly means that if there is poor service, a line can be transferred to a new operator.”
“In the early days of the state, Egged had a monopoly all over the country, except for in the Gush Dan area,” Malka explained. “Over the last 30 years, that started to be broken up everywhere, except in Jerusalem. It seems that no one ever imagined that there could be multiple bus operators competing inside one city.”
“There are routes where buses are supposed to come every 12 or 15 minutes, but they really come every 45 or 50 minutes,” Malka said. “When we received access to the full data, we saw that 40% of all rides came late, and 12% of rides didn’t even happen.”
“So we started a Facebook group called Egged Watch where we asked people to report their complaints, and we would send a report every two weeks to the Transportation Ministry. Finally, after a long campaign, the ministry finally agreed to launch a tender.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)