When it was built over a decade ago, the Jerusalem Central Bus Depot was seen as a great improvement over the bus station it replaced, with more capacity, more facilities for passengers, and better security. But while the bus depot may be a fine facility, the Health Ministry said Monday, it was a dangerous one – and Israelis taking the bus from the station should stay off the boarding platforms for as long as they can.
The problem, said the Ministry, was the very high level of air pollution on the third floor of the depot, where buses depart from, and where passengers board buses. The area is enclosed and is poorly ventilated, and the depot's management have yet to install a proper air filtration system. When measurements were taken last October, the Ministry said, pollution levels at the depot were the highest recorded for any location ever in Israel.
The Ministry said it had already fined the depot's management over NIS 700,000 ($200,000) for the violations, but the payment has not been forthcoming – and as a result, the Ministry is sending a collection agency after the depot's management.
The high amount of pollutants in the facility can cause both short-term and long-term damage, anything from stuffed noses and coughts to lung cancer, with enough exposure, said the Ministry. Officials recommended that those who were required to catch buses at the depot remain in another part of the building until right before departure time, and only then proceed to the bus platform, where they can get on-board right away – and not wait at the platform for the bus to arrive or open its doors.