Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd (Template:Lang-he) is the largest bus company in Israel, and the second largest in the world (after London Buses). A cooperative owned by its members, Egged employs 6227 workers and has 3105 buses (including 114 bulletproof buses) for more than 1038 service routes and 3984 alternative routes all over Israel. Egged makes 44,957 trips every day, transporting about a million passengers over 810,519 km of roads. Egged's bus routes reach most settlements, kibbutzim, moshavim and cities in Israel. Egged also runs local bus networks in most Israeli cities and towns.
Egged has expanded to Europe by purchasing the Bulgarian Trans-Triumph bus company, which runs service to cities such as Varna and Sofia, as well as airport and tour buses; this operation has been successful enough that Egged is planning to expand in Eastern Europe. Egged has also started operating in Poland. As Egged Mobilis they operate some metropolitan bus routes in Warsaw, Krakow and Bydgoszcz as well as provide free client transportation for shopping malls. Their most interesting bus line is however the Express Piaseczno, connecting Warsaw's biggest suburb with the cities downown, as this line is the only one using used ex-Israel Mercedes buses, a not polish Solaris buses, as on the rest.
Egged was created in 1933 through a merger of four smaller bus cooperatives. In 1951, Egged merged with the northern Shahar bus company and the southern Drom Yehuda bus company, creating a cross-country public transportation network. After the Six Day War, Egged merged with the Hamekasher bus company of Jerusalem. The name Egged (lit. Union) was given to the cooperative by the Israeli poet Chaim Nachman Bialik, in reference to the original merger.
Despite some deregulation attempts made by Benjamin Netanyahu, Egged is still Israel's largest bus company, is subsidized by the government, and still controls most of the inter-city bus lines in Israel. Netanyahu's attempts were cut short by a bus strike that brought the country to a halt, and Egged's workers and directors don't hesitate to declare that any further attempts to undermine the company's monopoly will be met with similar measures. However, in recent years, many bus lines have begun to be operated by smaller bus companies such as Dan, Kavim, Superbus, Connex and others.
Egged's bus fleet include a wide variety of bus models of Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and MAN, including bulletproof versions used mostly for travel in the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. Historically, the company also extensively used buses by Leyland, Neoplan, Jonckheere, DAF, International, Fiat and more.
Some lines, mainly running in and/or between major Haredi Jewish population centers, are classified as 'Mehadrin' buses. These buses are identical to others and can be used by anyone whether Haredi or not, but travelers are expectedTemplate:Whom to note that they are segregated by sex (with the exception of husband and wife, or parents with children), and women may be expected to sit in the back of the bus, while men sit in front; couples usually sit in the middle section. For women, a modest style of dress is recommended (meaning, no miniskirts or bare shoulders).
Drivers are not required by Egged guidelines to enforce Mehadrin guidelines. The Mehadrin bus guidelines are not law, and Haredi passengers request (or insist) that other passengers observe the guidelines. Mehadrin routes were heavily criticized after an Israeli-American woman, Miriam Shear, was allegedly assaulted on November 24, 2006, by a group of Haredi men while riding an Egged line for refusing to give up her seat to a male passenger and move to the back of the bus. The bus driver contends there was no violence, but that he did see a crowd around Shear and stopped the bus to inform passengers that his line was not sex-segregated ("Mehadrin"). Another passenger, however, was reported to confirm Shear's account. Critics have likened the Mehadrin lines to former racial segregation in the United States, with Shear being compared to African American icon Rosa Parks.
- Egged Official website
- About Us - Official Egged Website
- Picture of Egged buses
- Hamekasher - A website dedicated to a bus company operated in Jerusalem until 1967
- ↑ Template:Cite news
- ↑ Figures from Egged's website.
- ↑ Egged considers expanding operations in Eastern Europe, Ynetnews.com, April 12, 2007
- ↑ Daphna Berman, "Canadian woman beaten on Egged bus joins High Court petition", Haaretz, 4 February 2007, accessed 2008-04-08
- ↑ Daphna Berman, "Woman beaten on J'lem bus for refusing to move to rear seat", Haaretz, 17 December 2006, accessed 2008-04-08
- ↑ Destination: Montgomery, 1955, Jerusalem Post