Last weekend marks the third instance of emergency mode public transportation operations on Fridays and Saturdays since the start of the war. However, Transportation Minister Miri Regev faced severe criticism for initially withholding public transportation on Shabbat due to pressure from ultra-Orthodox parties, despite public demand. This delay hindered the timely arrival of IDF reservists mobilized to the South.
Responding to the backlash, city and intercity bus lines, as well as trains, were introduced the following weekend on October 12-13.
These buses, running on regular routes, provided free transportation to passengers. However, the ministry decided to change the operating mode from the following week onwards.
Despite approximately 100,000 evacuees from the South and North of Israel, many of whom lack private vehicles, the Transportation Ministry has now discontinued access to public transportation for citizens. Only soldiers in uniform and security forces members with certificates will be allowed to utilize the transportation system.
Israelis living in the South left stranded over Shabbat
This decision poses significant challenges for residents of Sderot, Ashkelon, and other affected areas who rely on public transportation to visit their displaced family and friends. They will now be forced to spend hundreds of shekels on taxis. Similarly, residents of the Gaza border area, who survived the Hamas attack and now reside in hotels, are unable to visit their acquaintances due to the absence or damage of their private cars.
Israel Railways will operate a limited line every two hours, connecting Nahariya, Haifa, Netanya, Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion Airport, and Beersheba. Additionally, there will be an hourly train service from Tel Aviv to the airport.
Bus transportation will be provided by Egged, with services running between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Fridays, and 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The bus lines will operate from Beersheba, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. For complete details, visit the Transportation Ministry website.