Railways: Keep Soldiers Off Sunday Morning Trains

The Israel Defense Forces, Finance Ministry and Israel Railways are discussing the railways' demand to keep soldiers off trains during Sunday morning rush hour. The IDF is demanding the treasury give it NIS 30 million in return for agreeing to change the military's Sunday schedules. Negotiations are nearing a conclusion - and it looks like Israel Railways will get what it wants.

The IDF paid NIS 600 million to allow soldiers to ride public transportation for free, including bus and rail lines. Bus companies get a yearly sum for transporting soldiers: Over NIS 300 million for Egged, and another NIS 170 million for all the other bus companies. The payments work differently for the railways though. The IDF pays Israel Railways for the actual number of rides it provides, which amounts to about NIS 130 million a year.

The sums were based on a survey conducted in 2000, but will be updated this year based on a 2009 survey. Egged is expected to lose money as a result, as soldiers prefer to ride trains.

At hand will be the task of finding the extra money for the increased ridership, and at whose expense.