Decentralization of transportation authority could pave way for Shabbat buses, trains

Ultra Orthodox Jewish men wait for a bus in Bnei Brak on March 25, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Ultra Orthodox Jewish men wait for a bus in Bnei Brak on March 25, 2020. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The government approves a plan to establish regional authorities for transportation that will serve as a link between local authorities and the national government.

The move is seen by many as a step toward enabling more public transportation on Shabbat on a regional basis, an effort supported by Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli but opposed by most religious politicians, including the Haredi parties.

According to the government, the plan will roll out across several stages, with the local authorities initially having limited powers that will grow over time. The Transportation Ministry says that within a month it will publish draft regulations for the establishment of such an authority in the Jerusalem area, and will be able to establish one in the Tel Aviv district by April 2023.

“A program to reduce congestion on the roads has been delayed for 25 years,” says Michaeli. “Today, we put an end to that and approved a model of metropolitan authorities that will empower authority heads to manage transportation for the benefit of the residents.”

Shas MK Michael Malkieli calls the move “a dangerous step that will cause serious harm to Shabbat.”

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