Wednesday, January 22, 2014

By Bus or Train

Lior Regev

Transportation systems are central and essential factors in shaping the urban quality of life. An efficient system with an infrastructure suited to the volume of traffic within the city makes it possible for us to reach our desired destination at any time of the day. 

One of the key elements of Jerusalem’s transportation infrastructure is its public transportation system. Because of its importance, this is a salient issue within the public discourse. Simply place two complete strangers next to each other at a random bus stop, and within minutes – regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, and socio-economic status – they will be regaling one another with tales of the feats and wonders of Jerusalem’s public transportation system. 

Today two companies provide regular public transportation within Jerusalem: Egged Cooperative and Citipass, which operates the light rail system. Egged operates some 68 separate public transportation routes (that is, without transfer points), which serve approximately 1,545 stations throughout the city. On an average weekday, these busses travel a cumulative total of 13,165 kilometers, and during an average week they cover 75,878 kilometers. During peak hours, between 7:00 and 8:00 in the morning, about 942 busses are on route throughout the city. 

East Jerusalem has not been left out of the public transportation system. In 2004 a number of companies united to form the East Jerusalem Transport Association. In 2010 the Association operated some 30 bus routes within East Jerusalem, reaching about 4,106 trips daily. Over the years the number of passengers has increased: in 2004 the total number of passengers per 24-hour day was 69,000, in 2006 the total was 85,000, and in 2010 a total of 94,750 passengers rode the Association’s busses.