Gush Dan municipalities operating the shuttle system on weekends are expanding the service in light of the success of last week. The lineup will be boosted by buses and will begin on Friday at 6 p.m. It will last until two in the morning. The service on the weekend will be increased with a frequency of about 50%. 10% of vehicle fleets will be replaced by buses with 52 seats. The shuttle will be at a frequency of every 20 minutes instead of 30, at lines 705, 706, 707, 708 and 709. Line 710 Will remain on frequency every 30 minutes but will be operated on buses with 52 seats throughout the operating hours.
The Metropolitan Transportation Service for Weekends began its operations last Friday, connecting the cities of Tel Aviv, Givatayim, Kiryat Ono and Ramat Hasharon. As early as the first weekend in which it operated, the service received a lot of demand that exceeded the municipalities' expectations and now they are required to expand. Same trips.
According to the Tel Aviv municipality, other cities are now considering whether to join the metropolitan transportation system. The Ramat Gan municipality has decided to withdraw its intention to join the neighboring cities and continues to operate its own service, but at the end of the year they announced that it will also join "Pleasant Weekend". The Hod Hasharon municipality also wants to provide its residents with a shuttle service on weekends. It is debated whether it is right for her to connect to Tel Aviv's service or run her own solution.
The Herzliya municipality initially considered joining the service, but the issue was not put on the agenda of the city council and after a rage arose among residents, the municipality announced it would launch a pilot of its own line to connect to the service in northern Tel Aviv. At the same time, residents are concerned that the municipality's line will not provide an adequate and attractive response, as city religious coalition members oppose the service and the mayor wants to maintain a status quo vis-à-vis them.
It is imperative to note that service taxis are still operating and there are services for these taxis all weekend. Herzliya provides 24-hour service. The taxis travel to Netanya. There is also a pirate service from Tel Aviv Central Station to Ramat Hasharon, Raanana and Kfar Saba. The price of the service is about NIS 20. Taxi service on Saturday also exists from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to Haifa.The public transport project on Saturday has been a great success. The five lines operated by the Tel Aviv Municipality were already busy on Friday but became even more popular on Saturday. Residents said they had been waiting for this service for many years and it was time for it to be activated. The Tel Aviv municipality intends to increase the service and operate buses instead of the minibuses that were operated this weekend. It should be remembered that there are service taxis in Tel Aviv but they mainly served the foreign residents since they started operating at the central station in Tel Aviv. There were also pirated minibus services such as the service from Kfar Saba Herzliya and Ramat Hasharon in the direction of Tel Aviv.
As part of the new venture, operated by the Tel Aviv Municipality, this weekend, for the first time, five lines departed for Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon and Kiryat Ono. The minibuses pass through hundreds of stations located at major points in the various cities, and due to the high demand - they may become buses in the future.
Lilac from the Shuttle Company picks up a phone for the shuttle because of the rush. "Get over the 705 for me," she says. Then another vehicle arrives - but it too is full, and once again the driver signals that there is no room and moves on. Lilac calls again: "Send me two more cars."
On the line comes Givatayim Mayor Ran Konik. "My conclusion with the shuttle company is that if we see a big demand in two weeks, the minibuses will become buses." He added that "Yesterday and today, too, when we started to increase transportation, there were some glitches. But in Israel, something cannot be started without glitches."
Despite the inconvenience to passengers due to the congestion, he said this was a positive thing. "I am glad there is a great demand and there is no room. I would be more concerned if the lines were empty," he explains, giving an example to some of the passengers: "This lady wants to go to Ichilov to visit her father, and these two people want to travel and travel."
On the protest signs hung at the various stations, Konik says "it is the right of people to express their protest." He added, "People cannot be shut down at home and think they will repent. The line is proportionate, does not enter religious neighborhoods, and the outline is set so as not to hurt the religious public sentiment that lives in the city."
He said, "Givatayim is a secular city and it is appropriate for such a city to have transportation that will allow the city's residents to roam on weekends. There are people who have no money. There is no way back from that, there is a demand for it. Israeli society will need to know how to deal with it, otherwise it will fall apart."
The minibus drivers are of Arab descent, and travel to residents today is free because of the law prohibiting the collection of money on Saturday. Givatayim's budget is the lowest - NIS 300,000, because it is one line, with Tel Aviv carrying a burden of NIS 900,000. The question that arises is whether the format will continue to be free, or will there be an original way to collect money from travelers on the weekends.
The Tel Aviv municipality said they had already begun to draw conclusions for the future, and in the meantime would increase the number of minibuses to meet the huge demand. Among other things, next week you will look at the possibility of getting buses into some of the lines that will allow for far more passengers. A municipality official said "we didn't expect it to be so successful."