Minister Michaeli’s office emphasizes that this is not “public transportation” because it will not be subsidized by the state. The move does not now require government approval, as the government had already approved in early August Government Resolution 234 on: “Improving short-term public transport” aimed at increasing the proportion of public transport trips out of all trips made. Following the approval from August, Michaeli can advance the move alone as part of the amendment to the traffic regulation under her authority as Minister of Transport. The draft proposal is published yesterday on the government legislation website and is open for public comment for two weeks instead of three weeks.
As first reported in Calcalist, Michaeli and the Ministry of Finance have already tried to advance the move through the Arrangements Law, but in the end this section was not included in the final wording.
The move that Michaeli is promoting states that any body, for-profit or non-profit, can apply to the Ministry of Transportation and get a permit to operate paid bus or minibus shuttles. Because these shuttles will not be defined as “public transportation” and will not receive a government subsidy, they will also be able to operate on Saturdays after receiving the blessing of the Ministry of Transportation.
The amendment to the regulation and the original government decision do not specify the matter of Shabbat at all, but officials in the Ministry of Finance and Transportation have previously confirmed to Calcalist that the bill will allow travel at any given time. The Ministry of Transport emphasizes that although the move will make it possible to promote paid mass transportation on Saturday, this is not the main purpose of the law. According to them, the main goal is to reduce the number of private vehicles on the roads and increase the rate of use of public transport out of motorized travel. The Michaeli bureau claims that the purpose of the move is first and foremost to address employers, associations and local authorities who want to reduce the number of passengers in the private car and now have the tools to do so for a fee.
The move will lead to the opening of the shuttle market to any body interested in it and will receive the approval of the ministry. Among other things, the move will lead to municipalities like Tel Aviv being able to charge for public-public transportation services on Saturday, which until now the law has not allowed them to do.
Moreover, business or social entities will be able to operate paid transportation on Saturday even if the municipalities are not interested.
Other applications of the amendment to the order include allowing businesses to operate paid shuttles for their employees, which until now has been illegal. For this purpose, a factory will be able to charge a fee of NIS 5 from each employee who chooses to join the shuttle and give up the private vehicle, and several companies from the same area will be able to form a joint shuttle. Apart from this, the amendment of the order will also allow entrepreneurs to operate commercial transportation lines based on demand, whether it is travel to places of entertainment, tourist sites or employment areas.
The amendment to the order will also allow smart and cooperative transportation companies to operate travel services more easily. In this way it will be possible to operate shuttle services such as Babel or Ticket independently without an attached public transport operator, in contrast to the current situation that has led the technology companies Via and Mobit to cooperate with companies such as Egged, Dan and Kavim.
Apart from the advantages of opening the market to competition, there is a fear that once private entities provide certain services privately, in the long run the state will retreat and not provide some of the services
The bill is not expected to allow companies such as Uber to enter the Israeli market, because the proposal applies to the transportation services of vehicles with eight seats or more.
Slightly absurdly, the chairman of the Labor Party, which defines itself as a Social Democrat, is taking a step that will lead to the liberalization of the Israeli public transportation market. Now, private transportation companies will be able to promote lines that will compete with the existing public transportation lines, such as premium lines that will travel to Eilat or Ben Gurion Airport and compete with the existing lines and service taxis. Apart from the advantages of opening the market to competition, there is a fear that once private entities provide certain services privately then in the long run the state will step back and not provide the services now provided by private entities, similar to the state intends to cancel public transport lines in the Hefer Valley. ”.
The Ministry of Transportation justifies the bill on the grounds that it will help congestion on the roads and increase the “split coefficient” – the rate of use of public transportation out of motorized travel. According to the proposal, road congestion in Israel constitutes a significant damage to the Israeli economy, which is reflected in the loss of GDP estimated at NIS 40 billion per year due to loss of work and leisure hours (approximately 20 billion per year) and due to road accidents and air pollution (approximately NIS 20 billion). Without government intervention and active action, this estimate is expected to grow to an annual rate of about NIS 70 billion by 2030.
The move stipulates that any body, for profit or not, can apply to the Ministry of Transport and get permission to operate paid bus or minibus shuttles. They will not be defined as “public transportation”
The economic damage stems from the overuse of a private vehicle for the purpose of mobility (at the entrances and centers of the metropolitan areas) and a single trip in the vehicle. This behavior is reflected in a variety of international indices, chief among them the split coefficient, which stands at 10% -20% in metropolitan areas in Israel, compared with 40% in advanced metropolitan areas in the world.
Roi Schwartz High School, chairman and founder of Noa Movement – Transportation on Saturday, shared with Calcalist data and calculations that have previously examined the promotion of public transportation on Saturday. According to the organization, the demand for paid transportation on Saturday is expected to be between 18% and 28% of general transportation, with the calculation made based on the volume of traffic on Sundays in Europe, while introducing the unique characteristics of Israeli demographics.
Also, since there are no traffic jams on Saturdays and the volume of travel is limited, an average of 14% –21% of the vehicles and drivers who use them on weekdays can be used. According to the organization, there are currently about 80 buses on lines that are fully funded by municipalities and organizations that operate every Friday and Saturday, and about 30,000 passengers use the municipalities’ transportation lines on Saturday. Schwartz High School said that “Congratulations to Sarah Michaeli and all those involved who are promoting the possibility of allowing everyone to choose how to get around on Saturday. As is well known, 80% of the citizens of Israel support public transportation on Saturdays in areas with a secular majority. ”
But Michaeli’s intention to operate public transportation on Saturday is facing political difficulties. The right is vehemently opposed to this and also in a new hope does not support. Finance Minister Lieberman said yesterday that he does support public transport on Saturday, but “there are statements but it is impossible to unilaterally promote anything so revolutionary in light of the fact that it is not included in the coalition agreements.” He said, “We will find an opportunity when to transfer him.” Parties have a future, Meretz and Labor support Michaeli’s move. Hence a joint team to the right and Lish Atid will have to discuss all disputes between the coalition factions including public transport on Saturday in order to produce coalition agreement.