The Ministry of Transport on Tuesday instituted night buses to run in over 70 towns and cities across Israel every night during summer vacation, in another apparent bid to prevent more kidnappings after last Thursday night's abduction.
The night lines will transport passengers to popular entertainment spots for teens and young adults and back home every night until 4 a.m. Most bus lines begin in the morning between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., thus closing much of the gap and cutting down on the possibility of hitchhiking.
The decision came following the success of night lines introduced over the past several years, and is intended to reduce traffic accidents at night as well.
New night lines will be added in Be'er Sheva, Tel Aviv, Ma'alot, Tel Mond, and Ben-Gurion International Airport. A total of 450 night lines will run across Israel - the most ever.
The option will also cut costs for young adults who otherwise would not be able to afford private taxis, which can be four to six times the price of bus fare between cities.
"We are now offering transportation services at night, which are safe and economical, to the young people of Israel - so that they can go out and return home safely, without unnecessary expenses on fuel, parking and taxis, and of course without the dangers of drunk driving and hitchhiking" said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
"Last year the night lines transported more than 700,000 young people," says Dror Gannon, Head of Licensing Division. "We estimate that this year those numbers will increase. It is clear today that night buses are a real and cost-effective alternative to travel by car to entertainment venues, and the numbers speak for themselves."
In a similar move earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that over four million shekel ($1.15 million) would be allotted for shuttle services for students in Judea and Samaria.