Frustrated Tel Aviv Residents Create Their Own Bus Lanes

YERUSHALAYIM -
People alight from a Dan bus in Tel Aviv. (Yossi Zeliger/Flash90)

Residents of Tel Aviv and Givatayim, tired of the endless traffic jams they have to endure in order to get anywhere, engaged in a creative protest last week: a nighttime painting event, where they marked off sections of main streets in the city as bus lanes.

Dozens of residents, joined by students and activists, took part in the operation, which went on for several nights last week. Speaking to Maariv, members of the group said that it was the most effective way they could think of to register their protest on the lack of government action in making cities navigable.

While many long-term projects like new highways and light rails take years to complete and cost hundreds of millions of shekels, “there are solutions we can implement right now,” one of the protesters told the newspaper. “1.2 million people in Israel cannot get around without public transportation, and 60 percent of Israelis don’t drive. Something has to be done to help them, and that something is improving public transportation.”

While the Tel Aviv Light Rail — the first stage of which will not be completed for at least three years — is a step in the right direction, “the light rails is a NIS 125 billion project, and it will apparently benefit only 8 percent of all Israelis,” those who live and work near the system’s routes. Expanding public transportation lanes — which only buses and taxis can use — is far cheaper, and will have more of a positive effect on moving people along, the activist said, as more efficient public transportation will encourage more people to leave their cars at home.

Police said that they were not aware of the incident. The Transportation Ministry had no comment on the story.