Shalom Life | May 02, 2015

History Made as Public Transportation Finally Offered in Jerusalem on Shabbat

The 'Shabus' will be available to members of a cooperative, and will be driven by non-Jewish drivers

By: Daniel Koren

Published: May 1st, 2015 in News » Israel

Photo: Egged bus in Jerusalem


Unlike Haifa, where buses actually run on Shabbat, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem non-religious Israelis and tourists have to resort to GetTaxi and other modes of getting around - like sherut buses for example, as a few do remain operational for the Sabbath.

In Jerusalem particularly, it's pretty hard to leave or get around the city unless you do before we usher in the Sabbath, much to the dismay of many Israelis who aren't religious, still want to have access to transportation, and don't want to pay taxi fees. Which is what prompted a group of Jerusalem residents, apparently ticked off at Transportation Minister Israel Katz - reports Ynet - for "refusing" to allow public transportation, to create a new alternative: the "Shabus."

The Shabus will be a bus service that runs in Jerusalem from 8pm on Friday until 2am Saturday, and will only be eligible to members of a cooperative that pay a yearly membership fee of NIS 50 (approx $15).

500 people have already signed up for the service and paid the online fee. Some NIS 110,000 ($30,000) was raised via a crowdfunding initiative.

"We studied the law and searched for the golden path between the Transportation Ministry's refusal to give licenses to operate public transportation on Shabbat and the needs of many Jerusalemites," said a co-founder of the 'Shabus' cooperative, Hovev Yanay.

According to Ynet, the service will start off as free, but eventually charge cooperative members NIS 12 per ride.

The 'Shabus' will run from Jerusalem city center to Pisgat Ze'ev, and then back through Talpiot, Beit HaKerem and the French Hill. The buses used will be rented by the cooperative, and the drivers, not to ruffle any feathers, will be non-Jews.

Already, people have requested that the 'Shabus' also make its way to Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities, which definitely seems palpable, considering the need for transportation on Shabbat.

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