Netanya bus system gets a breath of fresh air

Netanya's public transport system is getting a major facelift from this week, with 72 new environmentally friendlier and disabled-accessible buses set to run along 19 lines in place of the old Egged buses, reports A new bus line, no. 15, will cross the city from east to west near entertainment spots in the industrial areas, other existing bus lines will have their routes or hours of operation extended, and seven lines will be run for the city's school students. According to the report, Egged is pulling out of the city after decades of operation there, and in its place the partly privately owned Egged subsidiary, Egged Ta'avura, is moving in. Egged Ta'avura is equally owned by Egged and by the private Ta'avura company headed by Avraham Livnat, and already operates in Ashdod and Ashkelon. The report said the new buses, which run on environmentally friendly fuels to reduce pollution, will each be equipped with electronic screens showing its route, estimated arrival times, traffic movements and national and world news, and will feature "smart" ticket machines that will enable passengers to use cards instead of cash. A company spokesman said the new buses will lead to a significant improvement in the city's air quality, and Netanya Mayor Miriam Fierberg-Ikar said she would help the company begin operating in the city in whatever way it might need.