The Bus Times They Are A-changin'

Sharon Kedmi
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Sharon Kedmi

Public transportation in the north has been operating in a special format for the past two weeks because of the security situation. The bus companies have made changes in accordance with instructions from the Israel Defense Forces' Home Front Command.

Intercity buses are running on a special schedule, depending on their destination. For instance, Egged buses can enter Nahariya only during brief time slots; usually, they stop at the Ein Sara area on the city's outskirts.

Inside Nahariya, buses are operated by the Nativ Express company, which has also reduced its activity, and stops running completely when so ordered by the Home Front Command.

Intercity buses to and from Kiryat Shmona, Tiberias, Safed and Afula have been running continuously since the outbreak of the fighting, but schedules have been slightly altered. Within these cities, public transportation operates only during windows sanctioned by the Home Front Command. Timetables appear in local media outlets in Kiryat Shmona and at Egged's information center.

Egged's director for Haifa and the north, Shimon Goldberg, said that there is almost no demand for public transportation in Kiryat Shmona and other northern communities, but the company continues to run buses for the few commuters who use them.

Egged also operates intercity buses to and from Safed, Tiberias, Carmiel and Afula, while private companies operate buses within the cities. Again, schedules are based on directives from the defense establishment.

According to Goldberg, there is surprising demand for transportation northward, not just southward, and the company has repeatedly had to add buses to certain lines. This has been particularly true in the past few days, since the IDF began ground operations in Lebanon, leading to increased travel northward by soldiers. Egged keeps drivers on call in case buses must be added to intercity lines.

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