Haifa mayor wants public transport 24/7

Yona Yahav said he hopes the city’s mass transit systems will operate around the clock starting next year.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
April 24, 2012 04:08
1 minute read.
Israeli buses

Israeli buses 390. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav wants all public transportation in his city to run 24/7, including on Shabbat, he told The Jerusalem Post during an interview in his office on Monday.

Yahav said he hopes the city’s mass transit systems, including the Metronit, a newly built express bus lane, and Carmelit, the short and currently only existing subway in Israel, will operate around the clock starting next year.

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“We are the most secular city in Israel so unlike other places I don’t expect it to be as much a problem,” he said.

“The issue is that it may be seen as a change to the status quo.”

Yahav said the only day public transportation would halt would be on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Currently, public transportation in most cities ceases on Friday evening and restarts on Saturday night.

Haifa, where regular bus lines continue to partially operate, is currently the only exception to that rule.

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Yahav, who entered office in 2003, said his plan to increase the buses’ frequency over the weekend and have the two mass transit systems, which currently close for the weekend, operating non-stop will be one of the pillars of his reelection platform next year.

Haifa is Israel’s third largest city with a metropolitan population of around one million people. An industrial hub, it often falls in the shadow of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Municipal spokesman Roni Grossman said it is sometimes difficult to draw the attention of the national media to the port city. Yahav’s plan to reform the local transportation system is the latest in a long line of initiatives proposed by Haifa mayors aimed at making it more competitive.

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