National bus company Egged was fined NIS 15,000 after the Supreme Court rejected its appeal on Tuesday against a ruling that found the company and one of its drivers guilty of failing to lower the volume of a radio in response to a rider's request and behavior that doesn't guarantee passengers' comfort.
In July 2006 Alihab Habib rode the number 227 bus from Jerusalem to Elad at 11 p.m.. Habib was disturbed by the loud volume of the radio and asked the driver to turn down the volume. When his request was ignored he asked again at which point the driver waved off his appeal with a hand gesture. Upset, Habib decided to file a complaint with the Ministry of Transport and upon reviewing the complaint the ministry decided to sue the driver and the bus company on three counts.
The defendants were found guilty in the Jerusalem traffic court. Judge Avraham Tenenbaum ruled that they must reimburse Habib NIS 400 and added a NIS 2,000 fine for the driver and a NIS 15,000 fine for the company.
In his ruling Tenenbaum noted that traffic regulations clearly state that a driver must lower the volume of his own speaker and turn off the speakers directed at the passengers at a passenger's request.
"It is clear that someone who is forced to hear music or sounds that they don't want to hear will not experience a comfortable ride," said Tenenbaum in relation to the company's responsibility as the employer.
Tenenbaum cleared the company and the driver of the charge of failure to provide a suitable answer to a passenger.
Following the ruling, Egged and the driver appealed the decision and the level of the fine in the district court, where it was rejected.
Unwilling to admit defeat, Egged tried to appeal to the Supreme Court, making the argument that it was the content of the radio program and not the volume that disturbed the complainant and that the driver was not obligated to change the channel at a passengers request.
Supreme Court Judge Salim Jubran was not convinced and refused to hear the case, saying that a third hearing was reserved only to issues that concerned the public good that went beyond the private interests of the two parties.