More than 1,000 people met in Tel Aviv's Gan Meir over the weekend to demand that Mayor Ron Huldai and Transport Minister Yisrael Katz start working immediately to improve public transport in the central area, reports www.mynet.co.il. The protesters demanded that Huldai and Katz implement an immediate change of policy to stop promoting the use of private vehicles and to start to bring about a better public transport system.
According to the report, the rally was attended by Knesset members Dov Henin (Hadash) and Ofir Paz-Pines (Labor), with Henin saying the public should not have to wait 30 years for an adequate public transport system and that the municipality should adopt transport ideas that had already proved themselves around the world. The Green Trend (Megama Yeruka) movement, which organized the rally, said the city should give planning and financing priority to public transport projects rather than spending more money on roads and infrastructure for cars. The organization said that public transport services in Gush Dan had to be improved "immediately and significantly," and that existing plans to improve bus lines in the area should be put into action. It also called for the creation of a metropolitan transport authority to oversee public transport in Gush Dan; for greater policing of the use of lanes dedicated for public transport; and for the freezing of plans for more car parks and interchanges.
A spokeswoman for the organization said the presence of more than 1,000 people at the rally showed that the pubic wanted an appropriate public transport system. She said that current plans to raise public transport ticket prices by nine percent show that the authorities are detached from the public and are "forgetting that public transport is a basic right."
"I urge the minister and the mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa to tell the public what they plan to change in every matter that touches on the budgeting and planning of public transport, at the expense of the private vehicle," the spokeswoman said. No response was reported from Huldai or Katz.