Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Jerusalem's Commuters

By Omer Yaniv


Morning. You’ve finished your coffee and sent the kids off to school. It’s time to go to work. But if you live in Jerusalem, your commute to work might not be so simple: Is your workplace within walking or biking distance from home? Or must you rely on a car or public transportation? As of 2013 about 61% of Jerusalem residents indicated, through the Central Bureau of Statistics Social Survey, that they have an inconvenient commute to work. One of the main reasons for this is the high percentage of Jerusalem residents who do not own a vehicle: 46%, compared with 33% for Israel at large, as of 2013. Thus, many of the city’s residents depend on transportation provided by their employer, on carpools, or on public transportation in order to reach their workplace. 

The percentage of Jerusalem residents who require more than half an hour to reach their workplace is 45%, significantly higher than the national average of 33%. By comparison, the percentage of Tel Aviv and Haifa residents whose work commute takes more than half an hour is 25% and 28%, respectively. These data reflect the efficiency of public transportation systems in various cities during morning rush hour, but they might also indicate the importance of workplace proximity to home in choosing a place to live, or the lack of employment options near the city. 

According to the 2008 census of the Central Bureau of Statistics, about 51% of Jerusalem’s residents commute to work by private vehicle (compared with 54% of Tel Aviv residents and 58% of Haifa residents), while 34% use public transportation or transportation arranged by the employer (compared with 28% of Tel Aviv residents and 27% of Haifa residents), and only 13% commute by bicycle or foot (comparable to the figure for Tel Aviv residents, and compared with 10% of Haifa residents). The census data also indicate that the average distance to work for Jerusalem District residents is slightly below the national average (11.4 km versus 13.6 km, respectively). Given that Jerusalem residents make greater use of public transportation, we can certainly point to a correlation between the long work commute time in Jerusalem and the extensive use of public transportation on the part of the city’s residents.