Tel Aviv to shut down bike rental service on Yom Kippur

Shas city council member Babayouf tells 'Post' he asked Mayor Huldai to make move in order to avoid offending city’s religious residents.

Tel Aviv Bike Rental 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Tel Aviv Bike Rental 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Tel Aviv Municipality will not operate its bicycle rental service on Yom Kippur, following a request made to Mayor Ron Huldai by a religious member of the city council.
Shas faction member Beni Babayouf told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that he petitioned Huldai last week and asked him not to operate the system on Yom Kippur so as to avoid offending the city’s religious residents.
“Tel Aviv is a mixed city with both secular and religious people who both respect and honor one another. The mayor understands this very well and made the decision to respect this,” Babayouf said.“Yom Kippur is one of the most important days to all of the Jewish people and it is forbidden to harm it.”
In a statement issued this week, the municipality made no mention of Babayouf’s request.
“Yom Kippur is a special day that is unique to the State of Israel, and also a day in which the people of Israel voluntarily refrain from driving their cars,” the statement said. “Due to the fact that operating the bike rental will require employing people and dispatching vehicles across the city, we have decided not to operate the bike rentals during Yom Kippur.”
The municipality added that the customer service center for the bike rentals would cease operations three hours before the beginning of the Yom Kippur fast, and that rentals would be unavailable starting two hours before the fast until two hours after its end.
Click for full Jpost coverage
Click for full Jpost coverage
 Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv and the surrounding communities is a cycling experience hard to find anywhere outside Israel. The streets resemble a post-apocalyptic cityscape bereft of automobiles with a stillness and silence broken only by the clicking of changing traffic lights and the laughter of children and adults tearing through the streets on bicycles.
In Tel Aviv the day is known as a sort of unofficial cycling holiday, and in the days beforehand the bike shops are crowded with people making last-minute purchases and repairs to take in the experience.
The “Tel-o-fun” bike rental service went into operation earlier this year and is available at dozens of rental stations across the city. The goal is to eventually reach 150 stations.
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