Reform of TA public transportation gets off to humble start

Monday sees first phase of city's reorganization plan.

dan bus 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dan bus 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
While Jerusalemites got their first serious look at their light rail on Monday, Tel Avivians had to settle for a much humbler transportation development.
Monday saw the implementation of the first phase of the city’s public transportation reorganization plan, featuring two new bus lines and a rerouting and rescheduling of four existing ones. Many of the changes take buses off smaller side streets to reduce noise, pollution and traffic jams in those areas.
The new routes are No. 37 and No. 38. Both routes will be served by minibuses and serve as feeder lines for the city’s main public transportation routes.
Route 37 will link the residents of the Ajami neighborhood in Jaffa to Wolfson Hospital, central Jaffa and the Carmel Market.
The bus will depart from Ajami at 20-minute intervals.
Route 38 will serve the residents of Ramat Gan and Givatayim, connecting them to the Givatayim Mall, the Ayalon Mall, the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and the central train station. It too will depart at 15- 20 minute intervals.
Minibuses will also take the place of regular buses on Route 6 to Tel Aviv’s northern neighborhoods.
The minibuses will leave at five-minute intervals and take the place of buses operating on Route 6 and Route 113.
Route 10, which runs from Bat Yam to Tel Aviv will remain the same, but its departure frequency is scheduled to rise substantially.
Route 18, also linking Bat Yam to Tel Aviv, is changing course and instead of entering residential neighborhoods, will travel along the main throughways of King David Boulevard and King George Street. King George Street will, from now, be a public-transportation-only road.
Route 25, traditionally one of the busiest north-south routes in the city, will be extended and given a new auxiliary route (125) to better serve the passengers; its frequency will increase as well.
According to the Transportation Ministry the changes are meant to increase efficiency and improve service by cutting waiting times, making the routes more direct, increasing accessibility to the northwestern neighborhoods and introducing new services to the residents of Ajami.
Monday’s changes are the first phase of a five-part plan that has been long awaited.
With no signs of a local rail system anytime in the near future, residents are willing to try anything that will improve public transportation in the city.
Environmental organization Green Course expressed dissatisfaction with the scope of the changes.
“The publication of the reorganization plan is somewhat bizarre as it fails to mention the terms ‘transportation master plan,’ or ‘reform’ as you might expect of a plan of this order of significance. It appears that they decided to add a few routes and nothing more,” the group’s spokeswoman said.
“Moreover the plan’s schedule hasn’t been published. We don’t know when the more substantial second phase will begin or where additional public transport lanes will be built.
The Transportation Ministry has chosen to keep these points in the dark and it raises questions as to its level of commitment to the real public transportation revolution that is needed in the region,” she said.