Worshipers visiting the Tomb of the Prophet Samuel in Jerusalem are complaining that the Egged bus company does not increase the frequency of transportation there - despite the large number of visitors to the site.
"We came to pray together with the children in the Tomb of the Prophet Samuel in Jerusalem," says one of the visitors. “The kids are on summer vacation and we thought to take them to pray [at Samuel’s Tomb]. We paid close attention to the bus schedule and arrived at the bus stop ten minutes early, but when the bus arrived, the driver refused to allow more than six passengers on the bus."
"We are waiting here in the blazing sun together with all the little children, and they promised us that they would send us a bus that would come after twenty minutes, but more than half an hour has passed and there is no sign of a bus. If we wanted to travel independently for the benefit of the children, we would have to rent 10-12 taxis to get home. There's no other way, and it hurts."
Another visitor reinforced her words and said that the bus driver was asked to give the phone number of the person in charge but refused to do so. "This is the conduct of a transportation company that serves a large haredi population, [and it is] unacceptable," she said.
The Egged company said in response: "Only a small portion of the 2,000 people who visit the Tomb of the Prophet Samuel arrive via Egged minibuses, and the overwhelming majority come in private cars and organized buses as part of trips to the holy places in Jerusalem. Egged has license to operate minibuses [at the site] due to access and safety issues - and there is no room for large buses. Therefore Egged uses minibuses, whose fill capacity is limited, [but] in general service is consistent with the level of demand. "
"These days there indeed appears to be an increase in demand and we are significantly increasing service to the Tomb, although we are limited in the number of minibuses we have," the company says.
The company added, "Egged received the complaint of the daycare supervisor who travelled with the children in the blazing sun and without prior arrangement with Egged. After the driver realized that there was not enough space in the minibuses, he contacted the manager of Egged Jerusalem, who sent a special minibus to pick up the children. The supervisor and children thanked the driver for his intensive efforts.”