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Encyclopedia > Jerusalem Central Bus Station
The Jerusalem Central Bus Station
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The Jerusalem Central Bus Station

Jerusalem Central Bus Station is the main bus depot in Jerusalem, Israel. Located on Jaffa Road near the entrance to the city, it serves Egged and Dan intercity bus routes. City buses pick up and discharge passengers across the street on Jaffa Road and on Shazar Boulevard, which can be accessed via an underground pedestrian passageway. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 554 KB) Summary A photo of the new Jerusalem central bus station from across Jaffa street and the Yizkor squere. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (1600x1200, 554 KB) Summary A photo of the new Jerusalem central bus station from across Jaffa street and the Yizkor squere. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... Jerusalem (Hebrew:  , Yerushaláyim or Yerushalaim; Arabic:  , al-Quds (the Holy); official Arabic in Israel: أورشليم القدس, Urshalim-al-Quds (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names) is the capital and largest city[1] of the State of Israel with a population of 724,000 (as of May 24, 2006[2... Egged Bus Cooperative is the largest bus company in Israel - and - the worlds second largest (second only to London Buses). ... Photograph of a Dan bus in Tel Aviv. ...


The Central Bus Station opened in September 2001 on the site of the old, historic Jerusalem Bus Station. The latter station was typical of bus depots built in the 1960s[1], being a long, one-story building with an open-air bus yard behind it. Passengers embarked and debarked at curbside on an outdoor platform. The new bus station was commissioned in order to accommodate the increasing flow of bus traffic as well as to implement security protocols for screening incoming and outgoing passengers. During construction of the new bus station, operations were moved to a large, two-level parking lot several blocks east on Jaffa Road.

Contents

Interior design

The new Central Bus Station has two levels of underground parking, three main levels, and five upper floors of office space. The first main level is a shopping concourse and food court. The second main level serves as both a shopping concourse and the arrivals hall for incoming bus passengers. Since the building is constructed on the side of a hill, the first and second main levels both have a ground-level entrance/exit to Jaffa Road. Besides retail stores, the concourse includes bakery outlets, a video game parlor, and free-standing gift sellers.


The third main level serves as the departures hall, with 22 "platforms" leading to the buses. Passengers wait at numbered doors for the bus to pull into its slot in the indoor parking lot, then go through the door into the parking lot to board. Large digital display boards post upcoming departure times.


While most platforms accommodate more than one bus route, certain routes are so well-traveled that they have their own platform and frequent service. These lines include: Tel Aviv Central Bus Station-Jerusalem (Platform __, departure every 15-20 minutes), Tel Aviv/Arlozov Train Station - Jerusalem (every 15 minutes), etc. The Tel Aviv Central Bus Station is the primary bus station in Tel Aviv, Israel. ...


Passengers and their baggage are screened by security personnel every time they enter the Central Bus Station building. That is, departing passengers must go through security clearance when they enter the building from Jaffa Road and may then board buses without additional security checks. Riders returning to Jerusalem are dropped off in the garage on the other side of the building. They may choose to exit out to the street—in which case they do not need to pass through security—or go into the bus station building—in which case they must go through a security check. People wishing to visit only the shopping concourses must also clear security. As is the case for most commercial security checkpoints in Israel, gun owners are exempt from security searches, it being presumed that anyone who has been vetted by the government to carry a loaded firearm in public has no criminal or terrorist intentions. In addition to building security, Egged has its own team of uniformed security personnel patrolling the indoor bus parking lots.


Controversy

The decision to include a shopping concourse within the bus station (and through which passengers must pass on their way to the departures level) met with vocal criticism from rabbis and leaders in the local Haredi community. Although the bus station/shopping mall design was already commonplace in other cities, the old Jerusalem bus station—as well as the temporary bus station erected during construction—only contained a small coffee shop and cigarette and magazine stands. To the Haredim, the prospect of a multi-level shopping mall would create an atmosphere of levity diametrically opposed to their modest lifestyle, exerting an untoward influence on their youth as they boarded the buses. Haredi or Charedi Judaism, often referred to as Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, is the most theologically conservative form of Orthodox Judaism. ...


Community activists had already begun operating their own "mehadrin" (religiously-conscious) bus line between Bnei Brak and Jerusalem in order to pressure Egged to open a similar line. "Mehadrin" bus lines are characterized by separate seating of men and women and no radio being played by the driver. Now activists began petitioning the Ministry of Transportation to allow Egged to open a departure point for buses traveling to Haredi destinations that would board outside the Central Bus Station. Mentioned as one of the cities in the portion of the Tribe of Dan (Yehoshua 19:45), Bnei Brak is famous in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 32b) as the seat of Rabbi Akivas court, and in the Pesach Haggada as the site of the all-night Pesach Seder of Rabbi...


After protracted negotiations, Egged opened a special platform (#22) in the Central Bus Station which is located far from the other platforms, where passengers boarding its Route 400 to Bnei Brak sit in relative privacy. In addition, the bus company also agreed to launch a new, "mehadrin" Route 402 between Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. This route departs from Egged's city bus terminus at Har Hotzvim in northern Jerusalem, accommodating Haredi riders who wish to avoid the Central Bus Station altogether. The Har Hotzvim terminus has since expanded to include "mehadrin" bus departures to other Haredi destinations such as Safed and Ashdod. A Safed neighbourhood Safed (Standard Hebrew צְפַת , commonly spelled Tzfat; Arabic: صفد ; KJV English Zephath) is a city in the North District in Israel. ... Ashdod is a city in the Southern District of Israel. ...


A second bone of contention was the proposed opening of a McDonald's franchise in the food court. Most McDonald's restaurants, including the one in the Jerusalem city center, do not have kashrut certification from the rabbinate. Although this McDonald's franchise was in the process of applying for a kashrut certificate, the rabbinate conditioned its certification on McDonald's making all its other current and future outlets, kosher. McDonald's rejected this demand and announced it would open without a certificate, whereupon Haredi activists threatened a mass boycott of the Central Bus Station by Haredi bus passengers if the McDonald's did open. McDonalds in Times Square, New York Due to popularity of Starbucks and coffeeshops in general, McDonalds introduced McCafes to capitalize on this latest trend. ... The circled U indicates that this product is certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union (OU). ...


The Natzba real-estate firm which owns the bus station responded by canceling McDonald's contract. McDonald's took it to court and won; Natzba was forced to pay it 100,000 shekels in pre-trial expenses. McDonald's opened its franchise in the Central Bus Station without rabbinical supervision or approval. The Haredi boycott never materialized.


Bus-train connection

The Central Bus Station will soon be the site of train stations for both the "Red Line" of the upcoming Jerusalem light rail system and the planned high-speed Israel Railways train line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Both stations are being constructed in the outdoor square facing the Central Bus Station on Jaffa Road. The light rail station, scheduled to open in 2007, will operate above-ground, while the high-speed train terminus, scheduled to open in 2009, will operate underground. There are future plans to extend the high-speed train line line from the Central Bus Station to the Jerusalem Malha Train Station, the terminus of the current railroad. This article is about light rail systems in general. ... Israel Railways (Hebrew: רכבת ישראל Rakevet Yisrael) is Israels government-owned national railway company and is responsible for all inter-city and suburban railway passenger and freight traffic in the country. ... Tel-Aviv was founded on empty dunes north of the existing city of Jaffa. ... Jerusalem (Hebrew:  , Yerushaláyim or Yerushalaim; Arabic:  , al-Quds (the Holy); official Arabic in Israel: أورشليم القدس, Urshalim-al-Quds (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names) is the capital and largest city[1] of the State of Israel with a population of 724,000 (as of May 24, 2006[2... The stations facade The Jerusalem Malha Train Station is the main Israel Railways station in Jerusalem, Israel. ...


References

  • "Bus 402 from Jerusalem to Bnei Brak Launched", by Betzalel Kahn, De'iah VeDibur, Oct. 31, 2001.
  • "The Burger They Love to Hate", by Eetta Prince-Gibson, Jerusalem Post, May 31, 2002.

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