A day after, bus No. 74 riders committed to 'normal life'

For many residents of J'lem, the image of a bus with broken windows surrounded by ambulances had awakened memories they’d tried hard to forget.

March 25, 2011 02:24
2 minute read.

Egged bus 74 normal day 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Bus No. 74 wound its way through the gray and rainy Jerusalem streets on Thursday afternoon, less than 24 hours after another No. 74 was damaged at its stop at the central bus station.

For many residents of the capital, the image of a bus with broken windows surrounded by ambulances had awakened memories they’d tried hard to forget.

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Many of the passengers on the bus Thursday had stories of close calls with Wednesday’s terror attack.

“I left my apartment around that time but got held up by a few things, so I took the one right afterwards,” said 23-year-old Adi Cohen.

“I definitely felt like it was a miracle,” she said.

The bus driver, who declined to give his name, said he was scheduled to work the afternoon shift, but at the last minute changed with a coworker and instead worked the evening shift. He said that Wednesday evening the No. 74 line was almost completely empty, but by Thursday it had returned to normal rainy-day levels.

“I love the 74 line, I’ll never leave it,” said the driver, a 20- year veteran of Egged. “You get so many different types of people.”

The driver of the bus damaged in Wednesday’s attack was not hurt, but he was being treated for shock, said Thursday’s driver.

“I feel fine, maybe because lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place,” said Efrat resident Marcel Margolis as he boarded the bus in the downtown area, summing up the feelings of many of the passengers.

“It was out of the blue yesterday, but now people are a bit more wary, looking around a bit more,” he said.

He added that the visibly increased police presence also made him feel safer.

“At the end of the day, if you have faith, you have faith. This is life in Jerusalem,” said Margolis.

“It’s scary when it’s so close, but it’s so amazing that it happened yesterday and already we’re back to the routine, back to continuing our normal lives,” said Cohen. “We have to continue, we need to remember [the victims] as well, but we don’t need to stop our lives.”

Driving past the site of the terrorist attack on Thursday was a little jarring, the driver said.

“You look at it and you think ‘I work here every day, this could have been me,’” he said.

Still, the driver said Wednesday’s attack didn’t compare to the terrible days of the second intifada, and he was doing his best to stay upbeat.

“It’s actually much more dangerous on Agrippas,” he said as he drove along the busy road next to the Mahaneh Yehuda market, as pedestrians darting across the road narrowly missed being hit by taxis and squeezed in between buses.

“It’s a different type of danger, but it can be just as dangerous as a suspicious package,” he said.

Two Egged drivers were harassed yesterday, the driver said, when they drove into haredi neighborhoods and residents thought the drivers were Arabs, even though both were actually Jewish.

In Har Homa, residents threw eggs at the driver as he was finishing his route, also on the No. 74. In Ramat Shlomo, residents threw rocks at the bus.

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