Israelis wait an average of 14 minutes for public transport, research finds

Moovit public transportation app says commuters travel surprisingly long distances, but are most vexed by having to wait a long time for their bus or train to show up

Passengers wait for a bus at the entrance to Jerusalem on August 1, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Passengers wait for a bus at the entrance to Jerusalem on August 1, 2022. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Research by a public transportation app shows that Israelis wait an average of 14 minutes for a bus or train to arrive, according to a Tuesday report.

When public transportation does arrive, the research put Israelis at the top of the list for average distance traveled, perhaps unexpected given the size of the country.

Moovit, an Israeli-developed app that was acquired by Intel in 2020, provides real-time information to users about public transportation — both routes and travel times.

According to research conducted by the company and shared with Channel 12, the average waiting time in Israel for public transportation is 14 minutes, placing the country around the middle of the rankings of the 24 countries featured in the survey.

Topping the list was Hong Kong, where a rider tends to wait for around nine minutes, while languishing at the bottom of the list was Mexico where a 23-minute wait is average.

It was unclear why those 24 countries were chosen, when Moovit says it is used by passengers in 3,500 cities across 112 countries.

Passengers at the train station in Jerusalem on March 31, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

According to the researchers, travelers will feel they had a positive experience if they had a wait of five minutes or less for their mode of transportation to arrive. Moovit says only 13% of Israelis’ trips on public transportation fit that criteria.

The report said that in addition, one in 50 buses never actually arrive, meaning travelers are waiting for nothing.

Perhaps surprisingly, Israel was top of the list for the average distance traveled on public transportation — 19 kilometers per journey.

According to Channel 12, that could at least be partially explained by the fact that many urban bus lines take long and winding routes.

In addition, extensive planning failures have led to longer commutes for some, and rocketing real estate prices mean that many people are unable to live close to their places of work.

The data apparently also didn’t take into account that there is no public transportation for the vast majority of the country for approximately 25 hours a week when services stop for Shabbat.

Israelis ride their electric scooters on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, on May 5, 2021. (Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

The survey also found that long waiting times was the issue that most users wanted to see fixed, rather than issues of crowding, cleanliness or prices.

The tech company did not disclose its methods for collecting data on the opinions of its users, or how many participated.

As an app, Moovit’s data comes from the array of information offered to users, such as guidance and directions for city travel, buses, trains, micro mobility such as scooters and bikes, light rails and rideshare services like Uber.

Moovit’s other function is as a service to cities, municipalities and mass transit agencies — organizations that power, plan and operate urban transportation systems — by offering them paid solutions to expand innovative mobility options.

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