Musical buses

The capital’s transport system is once again overhauled.

An Egged bus 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
An Egged bus 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The latest shake-up in Jerusalem bus routes will be implemented next Friday, February 21.
We have barely become used to the last round of changes – in November 2012 – and again confusion will reign.
Some routes are being withdrawn, others shortened or extended, and new routes will be introduced. Needless to say, some people will be thrilled with the changes, while others will be less ecstatic, especially students who have rented apartments in areas where until now they have been able to reach the Hebrew University campus at Mount Scopus without changing buses, and will no longer be able to do so.
Earlier this week, posters started appearing in bus shelters around the city detailing the specific changes affecting the respective bus stops.
Leaflets explaining the changes will be available next week, and stewards will be on hand to direct bewildered passengers.
One unhappy change is the withdrawal of the No.
4; it has been the route linking Emek Refaim Street with the city center since at least 1934. At that time it was operated by a Christian Arab company – unlike the other routes in the city, which were under Jewish management. Over the decades, the route of the 4 underwent various changes at its northern and southern ends, as Jerusalem grew, but its core, the German Colony to the city center, remained unchanged. With the demise of the 4, to be replaced by the 77 and 77-alef, a piece of history is disappearing.
However, Egged apparently has a fondness for the number 4, and has allocated it to what has until now been the 34, from Homat Shmuel (Har Homa) to Gilo.
The changes are too numerous to list in full in this article, but here is a selection of routes that will be renumbered or changed.
The 13-alef, from Givat Massua to Mount Herzl, will be renumbered 29.
The 16-alef will be renumbered 716, and the 36-alef 136. The 46 and 46-alef will be renumbered 53 and 53-alef.
A new route, 15, will run from the Bridge of Strings to the Talpiot Industrial Zone via Tchernichowsky and Ben-Zakai streets. The 59-alef will run from Neveh Ya’acov East to Yirmeyahu Street via Ramat Eshkol.
From East Talpiot, the 78 and 78-alef will replace the 8, terminating at the central bus station rather than continuing to Pisgat Ze’ev.
Again, Egged seems to think the number 8 is too good to waste, and it will be allocated to part of the current 38 route serving the Jewish Quarter.
The 6 will no longer serve Pisgat Ze’ev, and will run from Har Nof via the central bus station to the Malha mall. Passengers wanting to go from Pisgat Ze’ev to the mall can change at the central bus station and take the 6 or the 31.
The 30-alef from Gilo to Mount Scopus will replaced by the 71 and 72 express routes as far as the city center, and the 17 and 19 from there.
Another one of the many changes is the replacement of the 65 and 69 from the Ammunition Hill light rail station to Mount Scopus with the 34, 34-alef, 48 and 48-alef.
A joint press release from the Jerusalem Municipality, the Transportation Ministry and the Jerusalem Transportation Master Plan states that many of the changes are an improvement in response to requests by passengers and local community administrations. It emphasizes that, as in the past, in the first few weeks the changes will be reviewed and may be tweaked if necessary to provide a better service. The press release also says that passengers will be able to reach their destinations faster and more efficiently with convenient changes between routes, without unnecessary detours and winding routes.
Needless to say, there will be complete bewilderment in Jerusalem over the next few weeks. Probably by the time everyone has become accustomed to the changes, it will be time for another reorganization.