The Israeli public is great. After Jews living for thousands of years is the unsafe Diaspora (only a tiny minority stayed here), we love to complain and kvetch. But, when push comes to shove, the old mettle of resilience is back in a second. This we have seen especially during Israel’s wars that threatened to end in our genocide.
Well, we’ve another war for survival on our hands, to avoid the extinction of all of humankind. If we don’t reduce greenhouse gasses hugely very soon, the already unavoidable damage will only be larger. What to do?
The greater Tel Aviv area is one gigantic traffic jam many hours a day. This is an enormous waste of time, a gross point of daily irritation for many (with all the bad health effects) and produces a many-fold exhaustion of fumes. What about a car-free day once or a couple of days per week?
After we mastered it, we can export this knowledge to all large cities in the world. We’re used to doing this nationwide once a year on Yom Kippur.
It needs to be announced months ahead so that all objections can be dealt with decently and appropriately. For instance, to arrange public transportation to areas that there is none.
On the car-free day we need:
- Free public transportation in, toward, and from the greater Tel Aviv area. This includes trains, buses, light railway, (only) group taxis.
- The number of busses should be enlarged greatly on that day. The drivers should earn a bonus per hour for extra work and discomfort.
- It will take car-owners and hikers time to find and get to bus stops and to transfer from one line to another, but that will still be faster than sitting in a traffic jam for over an hour per day.
- They will learn the public transportation alternatives that there are.
- They will learn how pleasant it is to be free to talk on the phone, arrange make-up or shave, to do homework, to read a novel, to practice your newest Hebrew words, take a nap, relax, etc.
- They will see how much money they would save, even if they’d have to pay for public transportation.
- They would feel good that they contributed to our survival.
- They would be motivated to go against industries that pollute and that enlarge the greenhouse effect. I contributed, they should too!
These are the vehicles to be exempt:
- Police, fire brigade, ambulance, Magen David Adom, physicians and judges on standby, etc.
- Motorbikes, moped, scooter, bikes — those don’t give a traffic jam.
- Cars that bring public transportation drivers to work and return them home.
On a lighter car-free day, maybe allow:
- Cars with a wheelchair-bound driver. (In Israel, all buses are accessible but their life is hard enough as it is.)
- Cars that are filled to capacity.
- Electric cars.
- Allow all cars at times not close to rush hour.
Huge fines (NIS 500 at least) for every time a violator is stopped by police, even if it’s twice on the same stretch of road after a few minutes. No easy deals for the rich who could afford one stiff penalty.
Those who sell their car and freeze their driver’s license should get a year free on all public transportation in Israel.
It’s war; and we’re winning!