Taxis on Jerusalem's King George Street.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
As the ride-sharing revolution took over the world in recent years thanks to apps like Uber, Israelis have been forced to watch enviously from the sidelines.
Though a number of taxi-ordering apps exist in Israel, their innovation legally stops at providing easier taxi ordering.
Abroad, Uber’s UberX service and a slew of similar companies have rung in a transportation revolution, as regular drivers use their everyday cars as makeshift cabs.
Driving down prices even more is the option to share a cab to a common destination with other users.
Though tough regulations may not bring hoards of amateur chauffeurs to Israel anytime soon, winds of change may be on the way after Israel Railways and Israeli taxi app Gett Inc. announced an upcoming cab-sharing collaboration.
Starting in October 2016, as part of a pilot program from the Transportation and Finance Ministries, commuters will be “matched” together through the Gett app and hop in a single taxi.
The shared taxi option will only service destinations to or from Israel Railway’s network of stations.
Gett’s CEO Mark Oun lauded the move as the first step in bringing cab-sharing to Israel while Israel Railways CEO Boaz Tzafrir said the partnership will help increase use of the trains by making it cheaper and faster to get there.
In the background of this collaboration are signs of growth for both companies.
Volkswagen recently invested $300 million in Gett to expand the company, while Israel Railways is in the process of upgrading and expanding its rail network.
However, many still criticize the tough regulations that have prevented any further ride-sharing – and price reducing – options for commuters which can sometimes cut the cost of a cab in half.
In June, Uber Israel began circulating a petition in support of bringing UberX to the holyland. But this collaboration may be the first sign of a change to come.