06/20/2011 03:05

Campaign aims “to fight police’s refusal to enforce” rules in these lanes so taking public buses becomes less of a burden, helps improve environment.
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The Green Movement has launched a campaign to bring greater enforcement to public transportation lanes in order to give the public more of an incentive to use buses rather than their private vehicles, the group announced at the end of last week.

The campaign aims “to fight the police’s refusal to enforce” the rules in these lanes so that taking public buses becomes less of a burden to the public and ultimately helps improve the environment, according to Green Movement co-chairman Prof. Alon Tal of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research.

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In a letter dated June 7, the party sent a joint letter to Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich, calling for the two men to take the initiatives necessary to bring about this change.

“The percentage of Israelis who take buses continues to drop, and the reason is clear,” Tal told The Jerusalem Post. “Bus passengers end up paying twice – first, they wait for very unreliable buses to come – and then, they get stuck in traffic like everyone else because the police refuses to enforce the public transport bus lines.”

With a sub-committee of transportation experts, the Green Movement is attempting to change this oversight, Tal said. The letter to the officials – signed jointly by Tal and co-chairwoman Racheli Tedhar – stresses that delays experienced on the buses effectively “negate all the benefits provided by public transportation during a journey, benefits that stood as a priority for the legislature when they created these lanes and determined their unique status.”

The movement has yet to receive a response from the officials, but expects to receive one soon, as a response is required by law, Tedhar told the Post on Sunday evening.

“In the planning and shaping of our land, one of the basic issues is transportation,” Tedhar said. “If I have to choose going by bus or private car from Rehovot to Jerusalem, I’d say that because there’s a public transportation lane going through the middle of the road, it’ll take me a half hour less because the bus has its own lane.

“The lanes are there, but the police won’t enforce them,” she continued. “I see a lot of people going with cars and using the public transportation lanes. [The government doesn’t] give priority to the public transportation.”

By forcibly restricting these lanes to bus traffic only, Tedhar predicted that there would not only be much less air pollution as people reduce their car usage, but there would also be fewer traffic jams and accidents along the way.

Tal said “the air pollution from cars is really the responsibility of the transportation minister and the police, but these concerns do not seem to be on their radar screens.”