A new public transport system has been approved for service on Shabbat and will operate for free in Tel Aviv and other metro areas by the end of the year.
– “Public transportation is a basic right, on Shabbat like on any other day, and … [it will] bring Israel to the standards that are worthy of a state in 2019.”
By Ben Ariel
The Finance Committee of the Municipality of Tel Aviv decided on Tuesday evening to secure a budget that will allow for a public transportation system to operate for free on Shabbat and to be activated by the end of the year.
According to the decision, the system will operate in cooperation with other cities in Gush Dan, and will connect the cities in the region. The project is budgeted at 12.5 million shekels a year.
The initiative will connect the cities on Shabbat with seven bus lines, the frequency and routes of which have not yet been determined.
The cities that will participate will be: Tel Aviv, Givatayim, Kiryat Ono and Ramat Hasharon. Herzliya, Petah Tikva and Ramat Gan will not be part of the project, though Ramat Gan will continue to operate its own set of bus routes on Shabbat.
The announcement comes after several cities in central Israel, including Givatayim, Ramat Gan, Ramat Hasharon, Kiryat Ono, Ganei Tikva and Tel Aviv, announced their intention to promote public transportation within the cities during Shabbat.
Uri Keidar, Executive Director of the Israel Hofsheet (Be Free Israel) movement, which leads the fight for public transportation on Shabbat, welcomed the move, saying, “The mayor of Tel Aviv and his partners in the process deserve all the praise, and those who think that it is still possible to take Israel back to the Middle Ages received a reminder today that they are a marginal factor that will not stop the State of Israel from making progress. Public transportation is a basic right, on Shabbat like on any other day, and may we soon also see the train travel [on Shabbat] and bring Israel to the standards that are worthy of a state in 2019.”
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