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Jul 15, 2008

Egged's response to the busjacking


The other day I wrote about an incident in which passengers of the 497 Egged route from Bnei Braq to Bet Shemesh "busjacked" a 402 bus. They were frustrated that Egged had not provided enough buses and they were on the verge of being stranded overnight in the streets as the last bus had passed. They did not take it sitting down and filled up a 402 bus (that was meant to go to Jerusalem) and "forced" the driver to change his route to that of the 497.

Egged has responded to the claims, and another article, this one online (though only in Hebrew) provides more of the details, along with Egge'ds response.

According to the article, the violent takeover of the bus caused a family, expecting to go to Jerusalem, get split up in the mass confusion. One child ended up lost and after a multi-city search they located the child in abother city, after he alighted another bus in the confusion.

Egged claims that they are under attack from a group of hooligans from Bnei Braq who have systematically been attacking their buses and causing delays. They even bring videos to take pictures for publicity so people will see Egged buses full of Haredim delayed and stuffed to the rafters, in an attempt, according to Egged, to portray Egged as treating the Haredi passengers poorly. According to Egged, they do this to assist their efforts in calling for opening up the transportation industry to more players.

Regarding that specific incident with the busjacking of the 497, Egged responds that the supervisor on site called requesting more buses. Immediately they went to work arranging more buses to be dispatched. When the buses arrived on site, the hooligans attacked the buses, standing in the street not allowing the buses to proceed, sowing anger among the other passengers, and causing delays of over an hour until orderliness could be implemented.

The question is which article is more accurate about what happened... but regardless, while possibly Egged might be right that passengers are angry at Egged and they cause greater delays, Egged has always provided poor service on many lines in the Haredi community (and other lines as well), whether it be in the form of not enough buses on a route, tardiness, overstuffing passengers on a bus and more. That has angered the passengers who are paying for a service that they cannot get elsewhere, as there is no competition.

For Egged to blame all their troubles on a group of hooligans, that does or does not exist, is a "cop-out" in my opinion.

Egged has to improve their service. They are well-known for providing horrible service, and many cities are starting to open up their routes to alternate bus companies because of it. It is high time Egged started improving their service.

Yes, the public wants competing bus companies. Competition is good for everybody. It brings prices down. It forces companies to improve their level of service and the quality of the product. the only loser in an open market would be Egged who would no longer have a free hand in making money off the public who has no alternative. So yes, the public wants more options. But they want this because of the poor service you have been providing for years. Not that your poor service is because of their desire for competition.

12 comments:

  1. I believe that prices are set by the ministry of transportation not the individual bus company. Competition can however improve quality as a number of bus companies attempt to convince the ministry of transportation that they can provide better service. Soon Superbus will be in Bet Shemesh and will at least partially replace Egged there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. the only problem with Superbus having won the tender for most of the Bet Shemesh routes is that their reputation for horrible service precedes them. According to the reputation they have from Modiin Ilit wher they currently provide the bus service, they are supposedly pretty lousy.

    But I think they must be better then Egged, because nothing can be worse...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Honestly, i've never heard of competition in public transport. In NY, the MTA runs the show. i have heard of competing intercity bus companies in America, but I'm not sure that one is that much better than the other, in terms of service.

    Also, if the haredim need better bus service, why aren't their community reps (politicians, askanim, etc) lobbying for better service? Are they too busy issuing useless kol koreh to stop and actually do something useful?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Abbi - all the lines under discussion are intercity lines, so maybe that is where the problem lies...
    They do, and Egged makes promises for improvement, but then nothing changes... when the politicians don't accomplish anything with their methods, that is when the hooligans take over..

    ReplyDelete
  5. As someone who regularly takes both "mehadrin" and regular buses around the country regularly, I fail to understand what you are complaining about. In fact, the special attention paid to charedi lines is simply incredible:
    -When you call Egged information, the very first thing the answering system tells you is "For information on mehadrin routes, press 7".
    -Fares on mehadrin routes are consistently about 30% lower than on regular routes between the same two destinations.
    -Drivers on mehadrin buses are not allowed to have the radio on, even though this would make their job more pleasant for them, because the passengers do not want hear secular music.
    -Whenever mehadrin bus passengers have any sort of complaint, or if the bus is overcrowded and they want to arrange for another bus to be sent, there is a a special number they can call and have their concerns taken care of. (In my experience it's rare that at least one of the passengers does not know this number and use it when necessary.)

    None of these privileges are available to non-mehadrin passengers anywhere else in the country.

    The real causes for delays on charedi buses are 1) the insistence that intercity buses visit every side street in every neighborhood rather than funneling traffic through a central bus station, and 2) the frequency of large families with little kids and big luggage, who take much longer to board. (Guess that one is unavoidable.)

    Like every transportation system, buses are sometimes overcrowded. But I think Egged, and its mehadrin lines in particular, are about as efficient as it is possible for buses to be under the circumstances.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hear your points, but then why do they complain so much? If it is simply because egged is too accommodating, making it too accessible to them, they should understand there are delays because it takes so long for everyone to board...

    and if the buses are so overcrowded because of the large families with lots of luggage, Egged should still be putting more buses on the lines to accommodate for that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. They complain and use violence because it gets them what they want and their rabbis don't explicitly condemn it. Unfortunately that is normal operating procedure among some groups these days. And as shown by the list in my previous post, the complaining works, which encourages them to do more of it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Michal from RBS AJuly 16, 2008 2:01 PM

    they use violence because they are uneducated and apparently do not know the proper way to behave in a civil society.

    I made aliyah last year from New York and over the past year have become disgusted with the 'chareidi' world.

    If anything, they have made me less religious then when I moved here.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Michal from RBS AJuly 16, 2008 2:02 PM

    they use violence because they are uneducated and apparently do not know the proper way to behave in a civil society.

    I made aliyah last year from New York and over the past year have become disgusted with the 'chareidi' world.

    If anything, they have made me less religious than when I moved here.

    ReplyDelete
  10. there may be truth to that, but if anonymous was right with his analysis, it seems there is n ulterior motive and the violence is planned for some sort of goal.

    ReplyDelete
  11. B"H

    Next time I'm in B"B for Shabbath, remind me to spend Motza"Sh there as well.

    Actually, though my only option is to take the somewhat less obnoxious Dan bus to Ariel,...filled with discussing and loud, Russian goyim {many of whom will be going to church the next day} who know nothing of fashion halacha.

    But why would the leftist media want to report on that?

    ReplyDelete
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