Israel Railways' sudden announcement of the closure of all stations south of Tel Aviv Haganah, Hasharon Line and the Jerusalem line starting Tuesday has angered many passengers about how the main means of transportation is making a major shutdown - without allowing response time or formulating alternatives.
During the shutdown, dozens of projects in the fields of infrastructure, maintenance and electrification of the tracks will be promoted. These are works planned for 2021, and their execution at the original and later date will hit passengers much more extensively. However, this explanation does not satisfy some of the passengers.
"I think we crossed a red line here and the landlord went crazy. We must stop this madness. The train is simply not functioning," wrote Danny Schechter, director of the Israel Railways passenger group on Facebook, which has thousands of members. "Every week new surprises. New jobs. Decisions are made at the last minute. According to him, this is a 'complete lack of consideration for the essential workers.'
"What are we already asking for? No high frequencies, no night trains, no trains on weekends. Even if you do not arrive in the main time you travel," Schechter added. His complaint is joined by many surfers and train users who have been notified of the closure of lines to stations at short notice and with no possibility of preparation.
The closure of the stations to the south also comes against the background of the reduction of general activity on the train on weekdays until 22:00 and the complete shutdown of activity on weekends from Thursday to Sunday.
These decisions have affected many passengers, including those who use the train to get to workplaces, residents of the periphery in the southern region, and also passengers who needed it to get to medical centers like Wolfson Hospital in Holon and Assuta in Ashdod near train stations - whether patients or staff.
Many of the passengers have raised concerns that despite statements about reinforcements of public transport lines, they are looking back at the sights of busy and crowded buses, with all the risk involved in the Corona period.
The various passenger organizations have shown understanding for the train constraints, but less so for the way things were done. "We understand the train's desire to anticipate work and take advantage of the short time windows created, due to the closures announced by the government," says Shimrit Notman of the 15 Minutes organization. "The alternatives they face? Are there any such alternatives? And how does the Ministry of Transportation intend to find space for tens of thousands of additional passengers in the existing bus system when the occupancy on the buses has been reduced to 50%?"
According to her, the solutions are in the hands of the Ministry of Transportation, which has approved the concentration of this effort for the train. "In the coming days, the Ministry of Transportation will have to put its finger on the pulse and check that the system of reinforcements and alternatives it has built for passengers is indeed a burden," she says. "We call on passengers to contact the office at Star 8787 and report problems in real time. And from the office we expect to set up an emergency system that can handle these inquiries and give passengers who are required to travel by public transport during an efficient and safe service closure."
In the first, Israel Railways announced the shutdown of dozens of stations due to early infrastructure works. According to the announcement, the shutdown period will apply for three weeks - from next Tuesday until February 3. This is against the background of the closure and the significant decrease in the number of passengers. The stations that will be located will be all the stations from the Tel Aviv Hagana line and south: Bat Yam, Holon, Lod, Kiryat Gat, Beer Sheva and more; The line to the east: Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem; And the Sharon line: Petah Tikva, Rosh HaAyin, Kfar Saba and more.