Egged protests new standing-room restriction

The Egged bus company on Tuesday opposed a new Transportation Ministry ordinance limiting standing room on intercity buses to 10 passengers, adding that such a move could be a threat to soldiers left at outlying bus stops late at night. The country's main bus company, which operates nearly 1,800 intercity buses, said that such a move should be left to the discretion of the driver, depending on the conditions on the route in question. "We believe that there is room to be flexible with the new ordinance to allow the driver to use his own judgment, since a lack of flexibility could bring about insufferable conditions," the bus company said in statement. The company said that such a rule would adversely affect passengers on local routes in peripheral and rural areas, and could even pose a security risk to soldiers left behind at bus stops. The ordinance does not affect city bus routes. Transportation Ministry spokesman Avner Ovadiah said Tuesday that the regulation had gone into effect two months ago and was meant to increase bus passengers' safety.