Grapevine: Elusive bus stop

Movers and shakers in Israeli society.

Tiberias Central Bus Station  (photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/RAKOON)
Tiberias Central Bus Station
(photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/RAKOON)
Jerusalemites who travel to Tel Aviv by bus and who have not been there during the pandemic are in for a big shock – especially if they travel on the 405 bus.
It no longer stops on the sixth floor of the central bus terminal in South Tel Aviv. Passengers alight on the seventh floor and then have a long walk to the escalator that takes them to the sixth floor and then another long walk to the staircase leading to the exit.
Returning to Jerusalem, former frequent travelers will automatically go to the sixth floor and will be bewildered searching for a sign indicating the exit to the platform for the 405 bus. It used to be opposite the Aroma coffee bar, but it’s not there anymore.
Actually, it was very appropriately placed in the past, given that the Aroma chain was founded in Jerusalem by Sahar Shefa in 1994 and now there are more than 120 Aroma coffee shops operating in Israel and abroad. But the one with the most faithful patrons is the original on the corner of Hillel and Rabbi Akiva streets, which since the pandemic has put up outdoor wooden bars so that people can have a comfortable place at which to stand with their coffee and cake.
Searching for the 405 on the sixth floor is a nightmare. There is no one to ask. The monitors who usually sit behind a huge upstairs window overlooking some half dozen bus terminals are not there. The area where they usually sit is dark. So is another nearby area where bus tickets are sold and the value of Rav Kav cards renewed. This area also includes an information booth. Here too it is dark and all the windows are shuttered.
But there is a hand-written sign on the shutter of the information booth that informs frustrated passengers that bus to Jerusalem now leaves from Platform 1 on the seventh floor. If you don’t know where the escalator is located, trying to find it will add to your frustrations.
Even in so-called normal times, the seventh floor is like a ghost town. Trying to find an employee to whom one can put a question is worse than looking for a needle in a haystack. It is a totally traumatic experience.
Platform 1 is not directly outside the building, but way across to the left on the other side of the road parallel to a row of large green containers. It is completely removed from where passengers take buses to other destinations.
So now readers planning to ride to and from Tel Aviv on the 405 are somewhat wiser. But beware. In Tel Aviv itself certain bus stops have been cancelled and some buses have been rerouted. So make sure you have your cell phone with you so that if you need bus information you can call *2800
■  MUCH AS a lot of people are fed up with Zoom and want to revert to live in-person events, there have been some benefits from Zoom, as for instance congregants of Hazvi Yisrael synagogue in Talbiya have discovered.
Prior to Zoom, the congregation had few cultural events throughout the year, but Zoom has not only provided opportunities for congregants to stay in contact with each other, but has increased the number of events to ensure that congregants will return to the synagogue after everyone has been vaccinated.
Limited-participation services have been held outdoors, but there has obviously been far greater participation at Zoom events, the next of which features Miriam Kra, executive director of the Jerusalem School of Medical Case Management. She has revolutionized care for geriatric and special-needs people living in Israel. On Tuesday, December 29 at 8 p.m. she will speak on Ethical Dilemmas when Dealing with the Mildly Cognitive Impaired.
She will discuss some of the complex cases in which she was personally involved and will explain why the “right” decision is not always so clear due to the medical and mental nuances that complicate possible solutions.
The meeting can be accessed at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84471334898?pwd=dDJUZGk3R3JKb1BGNmErSzhBSHIyZz09
Meeting ID: 844 7133 4898
Passcode: 466705
■ APOLOGY – Included in last Friday’s Grapevine were some anecdotes taken from Facebook with the aim of showing that despite all the hatred and incitement to which the public is subjected on various social media platforms, there’s still a lot of goodness kindness and integrity in the world. The names of the people whose anecdotes were retold, were included, because one of the tenets of professional journalism is naming sources, except when the article relates to security matters or other information which is generally classified.
What the writer of this column sees on the screen of her android cell phone is far in excess of anything she sees on social media platforms on her PC. As she saw the items in question on her cell phone, she did not realize that they belonged to a private group, some of whose members took offense. For that, sincere apologies are conveyed.
The columnist did not realize that Only in Israel was a closed private site, considering that she had access to it without even trying. For that matter, how can anything on a social media platform be considered private? The instant that it is published on social media, it is in the public domain.
However, since an apology was requested, it is herewith given.
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