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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Egged cancels route after bus is firebombed

There are many places in this country to which I will not take my car. My car is an old car (I like to joke that until I moved to Israel I never owned a yeshivish car - sorry that loses something in translation). It doesn't have bulletproof windows. It doesn't even have the shatterproof windows that most of my friends who live in Judea and Samaria have. I don't have a license to carry a gun so I don't carry a gun. In a word, if someone decides to take a shot at me on Route 60 south of Gush Etzion or on the Ramallah bypass road north of Shaar Binyamin, I'm a sitting duck. So when I need to go places in Judea and Samaria where I don't feel safe driving, I take the bus. You may call me chicken, but I regard it as self-preservation. Besides, with my long-standing obsession with the Matzav (situation) here, I can cite chapter and verse for just about every terror attack that has taken place here in the last 16 years. I know too much to want to take chances.

Fortunately, we don't have family in Negohot, which is south of Hebron, because Egged - the national bus carrier - has decided in its infinite wisdom that the Jews who live there have enough cars and no longer need bus transportation. Actually, that's not what they decided. What Egged decided was that they are no longer willing to take the risks of their drivers being firebombed. So they are abandoning the Jews of Negohot.
Egged bus company on Tuesday notified Neguhot residents in the West Bank that the bus route to their settlement would be canceled, after Palestinians hurled a Molotov cocktail that moderately wounded a woman on one of their buses two weeks ago.

"The settlement is amazed that Egged has decided to stop the bus route to our area," the residents said in a statement, adding that "instead of strengthening the settlement's residents who live on the front line, Egged has chosen the easy way out and retracted its responsibility."

Neguhot is a secluded settlement south of Mount Hebron, with only one road leading into it.

About two weeks ago a teenage woman from the settlement was moderately hurt when a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the Egged bus she was traveling on from Kiryat Gat to Neguhot.

Egged has until now provided transportation to the settlement twice a day, but has decided to stop immediately, saying they do not have an armored bus needed to protect their passengers in the area.

"We don't need to go there," said Egged CEO Miki Levy. "It's on a hill, it's a problematic area, only three to four people take the bus and we lose money on that line.

"After the recent incident we received a letter that stated that sending unprotected busses to the area is against protocol, and I'm not going to armor my buses for five people," he added.
Egged is owned by its drivers, but is essentially public transportation. Imagine if American or European subway systems decided they weren't going to tough neighborhoods anymore. The T in Boston won't go to Roxbury, the New York City mass transit system skips half of Brooklyn, and the underground in London won't go to East London anymore. That's essentially what happened here. Will the government step in and force Egged to restore service? Don't hold your breath.


At 3:46 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its not going to happen... the residents will have to start their own service to Jerusalem and connect to Egged there. Negohot is going to have to learn to rely on itself.


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