Jerusalem Egged bus (file)
Jerusalem Egged bus (file)Flash 90

Although the Transportation Ministry touts public transport as a solution for drivers seeking to get to their jobs faster and more conveniently, the “faster” part of that equation leaves a great deal to be desired. According to a Ministry study, public transportation in Israeli metropolitan areas is considerably slower than it is abroad.

In most Western countries, public transportation travels at an average of 25 kilometers an hour, the report said. In Israel, the average is 16-19 kilometers an hour. The average takes into account all forms of public transport at all hours of the day.

While at least some of the reasons for the differences could be attributed to Israel's greater dependence on slower-moving buses than faster trains, the study said that one of the main problems was a lack of bus lanes on major roads. Using a ratio of length of public transport lanes to the number of residents as an indication of how many such lanes there were in a given locality, roads in Israeli cities have an average of between 25 and 100 meters of public transportation lanes per resident, compared to an average of 150-200 in the US and Europe.

The numbers were based on surveys made in Israel and abroad in December 2012, the study said.

Commenting on the report, Shmuel Abuhav, director of the Or Yarok road safety organization, said that more needed to be done to encourage public transportation. “The more roads and lanes dedicated to public transportation, the more likely people will be to use it,” he said. “We need a lot more such lanes in order to encourage public transportation.”