Non-Profit Ride-Sharing Reg Gets Mixed Reaction

YERUSHALAYIM -

A new government regulation permitting non-profit ride-sharing was designed to relieve traffic congestion, but some say it will do the opposite, Globes reported on Wednesday.

Minister of Transport and Road Safety Yisrael Katz (Likud) signed a regulation legalizing for the first time qualified vehicle owners to organize rides on a cost-sharing basis.

However, the restrictions imposed have drawn criticism. Under the new regulations, private car owners can make two ride-sharing trips a day. The number of passengers on each ride cannot exceed four in addition to the driver. The owner can carry only prearranged passengers, and cannot pick up unplanned passengers along the way.

The maximum amount the car owner can charge per kilometer (.65 miles) in a journey is 2 shekels, and the expenses must be shared equally among passengers and driver. The regulations will take effect with 30 days of their publication in the official gazettes.

Sources in the transport sector were quoted as saying that drivers had been taking passengers for some time through such ride-sharing apps as Moovit and Waze without any limitations, so that the new restrictions will reduce the number of passengers per trip and actually increase congestion on the roads.

Wednesday’s regulation is part of a series of measures aimed at easing the endless bottlenecks on Israeli roads. Several months ago, Katz authorized taxis to conduct shared rides, so that the passengers in the taxi would be able to share the ride with other people traveling on the same route.