Yisrael Katz - 16.7.11
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz. Photo by Emil Salman
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Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz confirmed Monday that the state subsidizes bus tickets within West Bank settlements, causing them to be cheaper than tickets for rides within the Green Line.

According to Katz, the move was intended to incentivize settlers to use armor-protected public transportation within the West Bank, which would reduce state spending on stationing military and security escorts for non-armored private vehicles. Katz also stated that the reduction of prices has increased use of public transportation by nearly 80% in the last decade.

Zahava Galon (Meretz), who questioned Katz regarding the ticket prices during Monday’s Knesset plenum, presented evidence that showed the vast discrepancy in the prices. According to Galon, a bus ride from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv (60 kilometer distance) costs approximately 20 NIS, while an equidistant ride from Jerusalem to the settlement of Talmon costs around 8.6 NIS.

Galon stated that the current calm in the territories does not justify the subsidizing of bus tickets, and that many of the bus companies do not even use even use armored vehicles.