Egged officials have been notified by the Ministry of Transportation to stop the long-standing arrangement permitting riders on motzei Shabbos to travel from the Kosel without paying the fare. This permitted shomer Shabbos riders to get home to Jerusalem neighborhoods without having to make arrangements before Shabbos. The riders were expected to pay an extra fare during the week to compensate for the motzei Shabbos ride. This permits riders living in frum areas like Geula and Har Nof to return home by bus.
According to Egged, most riders did not make payment during the week and they simply got a free ride on motzei Shabbos. Acting on Egged’s evaluation of the frum motzei Shabbos riders, the ministry has given the order to cancel the arrangement immediately.
This means the many mispallalim arriving at the Kosel for mincha and maariv on Shabbos will have to find a way to get money to make their way home.
Kosel rav Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz expressed surprise upon hearing of the decision, adding it is most ironic that it comes on the week Am Yisrael observes Yom Yerushalayim.
MK (Yahadut Hatorah) R’ Uri Maklev turned to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz to reverse the decision.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)