Bus passenger wins suit for years of service disruptions

Judge issues maximum NIS 17,800 fine, urges Egged travelers to 'stand up for their rights.'

Egged no.5 298 (photo credit: Sybil Ehrlich)
Egged no.5 298
(photo credit: Sybil Ehrlich)
A court has awarded a bus passenger NIS 17,800 in damages in a precedent-setting lawsuit against the Egged bus company, court documents released Tuesday showed. The claimant, Yitzhak Carmeli of Kiryat Ye'arim, sued the national bus company in Jerusalem's small claims court following a decade of repeated service disruptions on the Egged bus line between his home and the capital, and after hundreds of complaints to the bus company and the Transportation Ministry went unheeded. Judge Avraham Tenenbaum ruled on Sunday that the passenger, who rode the line four times a day, was right in all his complaints and fined the bus company the maximum amount allowed by law in such a case, adding that the claimant actually deserved to be awarded an even higher compensation. The judge wrote in his ruling that buses that leave late or change their routes inevitably end up hurting all the passengers and not just the claimant, adding that he encouraged other passengers to "stand up for their rights" and file complaints with the bus company if they encounter such unacceptable and inexcusable service disruptions. "The time of the public is not to be forfeited, not even one minute of its time," Tenenbaum wrote in the ruling, adding that sometimes harsh punishment needed to be meted out. A secondary lawsuit against the state for negligence was rejected.