21 of the Eighth Month 5767
Last Sunday, 15 Marheshwan (Nov. 5), the new Eged bus schedule for the Shomron went into effect. Some buses were added; some service was cancelled. But, the main feature of the new schedule was the radical change in bus routes. Buses no longer travel the an unbroken trek from Jerusalem to the northern end of the Shomron, as previously covered by Line 473, ending in Netanyah and Line 474, ending in K'far Sabba. There is still one bus of the new Line 148 which makes the trek from Jerusalem to Immanuel at 6:30am, and Line 465 still connects Jerusalem with Qidumim, Karnei Shomron, and Immanu'el. However, the latter exits Jerusalem to the west, and travels north along the relatively new No. 6 expressway, avoiding the Binyamin Area and the heart of the Shomron entirely.
The new, Line 148 from Jerusalem to the various towns in the Shomron, such as Shilo, Eli, and Ma'aleh Levona, now ends in Ariel, instead of continuing on to Netanyah or K'far Sabba. Those desiring to arrive in Revava, Yaqir, Immanu'el, Etz Hayim, Einav, Karnei Shomron, and Qidumim must get on another bus, either the new, Line 73 to Netanyah or the new, Line 74 to K'far Sabba. There have already been reports of passengers to Qidumim missing their connecting 73 bus in Ariel by a few minutes, thus causing them an additional 1 1/2 wait.
So, what's the big deal you ask?
While strengthing the University of Yehudah and Shomron, recently upgraded in status from "college," the new bus routes are also in preparation for the the next expulsion of Jews from the Shomron, may God forbid. With a simple snap of the fingers, the new, Line 148 can disappear, cutting Shilo, Eli, Ma'aleh Levona, Rehalim, and K'far Tapu'ah off from public transpotation. A simple change in route along Expressay, No. 6 will facilitate transportation of students from Jerusalem to the university in Ariel, who now appear to make up a substantial percentage of morning passengers on the 148.
Service will then continue north from Ariel via the 73 and 74, which "conveniently" and "coincidentally" travel within that idiotic, so-called security fence. (I call it the Hillul HaShem Fence.)
I predict that the first victim, though, will be the still existing, Line 477 from Jerusalem to Elon Moreh, stopping in Itamar and at Tzometh Tapu'ah. It used to go to Ma'aleh Levonah, but not anymore. This will be the first step, to cut off Elon Moreh, Itamar, Yitzhar, Har Brachah, and then K'far Tapu'ah, preparing for the next round of expulsions, may God forbid.
Service to towns in Binyamin, such as Ofra and Beth-El will continue uninterrupted, until such time the government decides to pull the plug.
This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't situations. The Eged bus company is subsidized by the government. Many of us pay only 50% percent of what the fare is reported to cost. Yet, do due to our "grand discount," our precious, bullet-proof transportation is at the mercy of the government.
Far be it from the YeSh"A (AKA: Pesha or Resha) Council to intervene and continue its bus serivce, which just stopped, even for a price. These collaborators without any mandate from the people, and who receive their budgets from the Office of the Prime Minister (How many of you actually knew that?) can not be expected to compete with their fellow government lackies over at Eged.
I say let's contract with a religious bus service (You may call them "Haredi;" I call them religious). But no doubt, the mamlachtim from Ofra and other towns would make a stink about that, in an attempt to cover up the collaboration with the government in the area of education, as well as transportation. But, that's the topic for another blog entry....
The question remains: When we say bye-bye Eged, will it be because we will have found alternative transportation? Or because Eged has left us in the dust.
Read more on ths issue from Batya at Me-Ander:
The Public Be Damned!
In Suspense -- The First Day