Parents Go to Court After J'lem Puts Brakes on School Bus Service

More than 200 children in Jerusalem were affected by a municipality decision to end bus service meant to shuttle them to schools situated far from their homes, leading a group of parents to petition the Jerusalem District Court in protest.

The parents say that some of the children attend kindergartens and lower school, and as a result of the change in transportation availability are now forced to use public transportation.

Some of the parents have decided not to send their children to school in protest.

Rimona Monsungo from the neighborhood of Musrara said that her 4-year-old daughter cannot ride the bus.

"The common denominator of all the neighborhoods affected by this decision is that they are all lower class," she added.

The municipality said in a statement that "the private bussing system is not required by law, has been replaced by a system run by [bus operator] Egged and solutions that are appropriate for the needs of the various neighborhoods have been created."

The Jerusalem Municipality had provided bussing for children living three or more kilometers from the school they attend, but stopped the service at the start of the month.

"The municipality has offered bussing for the past 30 years," Monsungo said. "There used to be schools in the neighborhood but they were closed. Kindergartens were also transferred in recent years to the Haredi education system. We have no other option but to travel outside the neighborhood."

In some of the cases, Monsungo points out, the bus stops are not near the schools, and the pupils are required to cross dangerous intersections.

The petition filed with the court is directed against the Education Ministry and is being handled as part of the court's responsibility as a court for administrative matters.