Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Shevat 5768 - January 24, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Campaign to Improve Bus Service on Chareidi Lines

By Yechiel Sever

Following an in-depth investigative report in Yated Ne'eman on the conduct of bus companies that run lines for the chareidi public, many public transportation users joined the campaign for decent transportation for chareidi passengers, who are shown a lack of basic respect by the bus companies.

Since the publication of the report last week complaints have been pouring into the Yated Ne'eman hotline. Many passengers protested long waits in the cold, which even posed a health hazard to older passengers in some cases. Last Tuesday, for instance, a Line 998 bus to Rechasim stopped at a Bnei Brak bus stop only to tell the people waiting, including an elderly couple, that the bus was too full to take them and they would have to wait for the next bus to come. "That day the weather was frigid around the country, and to leave people waiting at a bus station for a whole hour is scandalous," read one complaint. "The law is supposed to force bus companies to send more buses and not leave people out in the street, especially when this can imperil their health."

Similar complaints described waits of over 40 minutes in bitter cold with temperatures below freezing last Thursday when Line 402 from Jerusalem to Bnei Brak was delayed.

Some of the complaints pointed to derisive behavior on the part of drivers. For instance, a yeshiva student traveled from Tifrach to Bnei Brak using a special ticket that has a special square to punch for a free ride inside the city. But when he boarded Line 15 in Jerusalem, the driver refused to punch the ticket in the designated place, instead punching a hole in one of the squares designated for longer rides between cities. When asked why he did so the driver started yelling at the yeshiva student.

Other letters faxed to the hotline described the state of disrepair of many buses. For example, on Motzei Shabbos passengers on Line 998 from Bnei Brak to Rechasim were alarmed at the sound of loud banging noises coming from the bus. After the driver pulled over, the passengers had to step off the bus and wait 50 minutes until another bus arrived — only after MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni intervened. Even then the nightmare was not over. The passengers were told to re-board the bus, though children were crying with fear, and it was towed several hundred meters to the place where the replacement bus was waiting, in accordance with police instructions.

"The company's slipshod handling of the situation caused us to suffer a trip filled with hardships that lasted for several exhausting hours," said one of the passengers.

Many complaints addressed extreme crowding that forced passengers to stand during the ride.

Passengers who have encountered problems and glitches are asked to continue reporting these incidents by sending a fax to 03-6170815, briefly noting the details of the incident and a phone number to verify the particulars. Include the time of day and the vehicle number of the bus, and if possible the name of the driver as well. In the event of mechanical failures that involve removing the passengers from the bus, etc., readers with cameras are asked to capture the incident on film and report it via the fax number above.


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