I am truly impressed by Egged. I have been for years, I’ve been taking city busses ever since I moved to Jerusalem. I believe that commuting on a Egged bus in Jerusalem is the most Israeli thing you can do. This is what I tell all my friends and family when they come to visit when they’re looking for a real Israeli experience.
The Yerushalmi bus drivers are not just bus drivers, they’re part of city, they know the people and city they’re dealing with.
If you have traveled in a Jerusalem city bus, you know that the driver can either be super obnoxious or the nicest guy you’ve ever met (sometimes they look like celebrities).
So when I mean Israeli, I mean an extraordinary crazy experience or thing only an Israeli living in Israel can get away with (or not).
So today on my way home from Bet Shemesh a city right outside of Jerusalem, I travelled on a bigger bus which are used for out of city destinations, I got on the 417 bus from the first bus stop, I paid the driver with my Rav Kav (city card like oyster card or whatever they use on a subway) and went to sit in my favorite seat on the so far empty bus.
I sit down, put my earphones in thinking ‘oh great I have nice ride now, I can sit back relax and enjoy my music’. The bus starts filing up by now and were all stopped at a bus stop for longer than necessary, this is usually about the time when wondering what is going is a good idea, you know us Israelis, always on alert.
So turns out everyone is getting off (due to the paying machine not working I would find out later) so I follow the crowd and get on the second bus that is already waiting, this bus is almost full and I’m thinking ‘such a shame I was comfortable in my seat, no one was siting next to me’, you know the best ride ever.
I’m settling in my seat kind of annoyed I needed to get up and switch a bus, but I have a seat, I’m sitting next to a nice lady (she was the one who told me why we switched) so a few stops later still in Bet Shemesh the old driver gets on our new bus and says “whoever is going straight to the Central Bus Station should come to my bus” (a thing that can only happen in Israel), of course that’s where I’m going, you guessed it, I get up again, get back on the first bus, my seat is waiting and everything, I was so happy.
We have three more stops before our straight route to Jerusalem and these two busses are a duo now, the passengers first pay at the new bus and then get on the old bus (mine), and of course everyone knows where they’re going and is totally cool with whatever is happening, (these things happen all the time) everyone is very understanding.
That is why I am very impressed with Egged, these drivers are experienced, they know what to do when a situation arises and they make it work.
All the love,