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TA to seek new minibus lines on Saturdays
By MICHAEL OMER-MAN
05/08/2012
Plan would add eight new private minibus lines to existing Saturday transportation, connecting Center, beaches to outlying neighborhoods.
 
The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality will seek permission to expand options for public transportation on Shabbat, following a decision made by city management on Tuesday to ask the Transportation Ministry for the required authorization, the municipality said in a statement. The proposed plan would add eight new private minibus lines connecting various parts of the city to beaches, hospitals and the city center.

The municipality said that it does not want to challenge the status quo of Shabbat being a day of rest. Instead, it intends to provide transportation for residents who cannot afford private cars. The new lines would also service residents during the rest of the week.

Included in the proposal is a line to connect the east of the city to Dizengoff Center and Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot. Another line would connect Jaffa to southern city neighborhoods. The third would connect eastern parts of the city to the beaches, port, convention hall and the Atidim bus station. The fourth would run between the far-northern neighborhood of Hadar Yosef to the city center and Jaffa, and the fifth would connect the Central Bus Station to the city center and northern neighborhoods.

Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai praised the decision, saying “The State of Israel must also provide services to those who lack them. That includes providing access to every citizen on the weekends. There is no reason that residents who cannot afford [private cars should not be able to] reach the beach or visit hospitals on Saturdays. It is proper and correct from a social standpoint to implement a solution that broadens the reach of existing lines without harming the status quo.”

The proposal is also beneficial from a safety standpoint, Huldai asserted, and pointed to a recent study which showed that the availability of public transportation on weekends leads to a significant drop in traffic accidents.
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