Jerusalem busses are often known to be crowded and stuffy environments, where more than a few trying and embarrassing situations occur on a daily basis.
The worst hit bus lines are those that travel through the Charedi neighborhoods, as the Charedi population of Jersualem is one of the more dependent communities on public transportation. Many Charedim in the city do not posses a car and rely solely on public transportation to get around. As well the overall percentage of Charedi users of public transportation is higher than any other group or community in the city. Thus rush hour travel gets particularly crowded on bus lines passing through Charedi neighborhoods.
One possible solution is to add more busses to the affected lines during peak hours, but this solution has ony been implemened in part, and as such has not provided releif for the wary traveler who feels a kin to a sardine when packed into a crowded rush hour bus.
With the busses being overcrowded with men, women and children, in addition to the discomfort, many have brought up various ethical and halachik issues as well. In addition to the personal safety issues that arise from the overcrowding there is also the various issues of Tznius and Negiah that arise, as passengers are forced to touch others continuously during their journey. Waiting for the next bus won’t help either as it too will likely be just as full during peak hours.
Sharp stops can also be highly problematic as standing passengers are often hurled into one another which can cause unwated touching and physical injury. The drivers are supposed to not allow additional passengers at a certain point however, this proves to be almost impossible as the sheer number of passengers waiting to get on the bus overwhelmes both the driver and often the automatic door mechanism. This holds especially true during cold and rainy winter days.
One journalist for Kikar Shabbat news site, Netanel Leifer said: “The city really must take charge and end this degrading situation. It is inconceivable that so many Jerusalem residents should be made to suffer in such terrible circumstances when a solution is readily available. It falls to the leaders of our city to rectify this terrible situation.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)