Egged Transportation Ltd (Hebrew: אֶגֶד), is the largest transit bus company in Israel. Egged's intercity bus routes reach most Israeli cities, towns, kibbutzim and moshavim, and the company operates urban city buses throughout the country and the West Bank. It also operates in Poland and the Netherlands through a subsidiary.
|Service area||Israel (nationwide)|
|Daily ridership||900,000 (Israel)|
|Annual ridership||264,200,000 (Israel)|
Egged was created in 1933 through a merger of four smaller intercity bus cooperatives in and around Tel Aviv. In 1942 it was joined with the bus company United Sharon. In 1951, Egged merged with the northern Shahar bus company and the southern Drom Yehuda bus company, creating a national public transportation network. In 1961 Egged merged with the Hamekasher bus company of Jerusalem. The name Egged (lit. Union) was given to the cooperative by the Israeli poet Hayim Nahman Bialik.
In late 2002, Egged sued the Palestinian National Authority and its chairman Yasser Arafat for compensation of damages and loss of income due to terrorist attacks and suicide bombings on buses during the Second Intifada, claiming that the attacks had deterred passengers from taking buses. On February 3, 2003, the Tel Aviv District Court ruled that Arafat has to pay Egged NIS 52 million in damages for the loss of one year's income and NIS 100,000 in court expenses.
Despite deregulation attempts by the Israeli prime minister 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 declared 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. In 2005, Egged and the Israeli Government reached an agreement under which by the year 2015 subsidization will be reduced to specific sectors, the disabled, soldiers and students, and for certain equipment.
In 2019, Egged became from a worker cooperative to a company as most cooperative members voted unanimously favor this change to suit the tender era and the requirements of the Ministry Of Tranportation And Road Safety.
Egged's bus fleet include a wide variety of bus models of Mercedes-Benz, VDL, Volvo, DAF and MAN, including bulletproof versions used mostly for travel in the West Bank. Historically, the company also extensively used buses by Leyland, Neoplan, Jonckheere, International, Fiat and more.
Egged has purchased 51% of the Bulgarian Trans-Triumph bus company, which runs service to cities such as Varna and Sofia, as well as airport and tour buses for approximately €4 million. Egged, through its affiliated company, is responsible for the operation of half the public transportation in the city of Varna, the second largest city in Bulgaria with about half a million residents. Egged also formed a joint venture company with Rousse municipality called Egged Rousse JSC which operates the public transport in the city of Rousse.
Egged operates some 1,500 buses in Poland, where it owns the Polish bus company Mobilis it acquired for €4 million in 2006. The company operates some metropolitan bus routes, including exclusive franchises in Warsaw, Kraków and Bartoszyce. Mobilis in Warsaw operate 215 buses for public transportation and serves around 40 routes daily. Also it uses Scania coach for football team Legia Warszawa and some other buses for special transports and tourism.
Egged Bus Services also holds an eight-year contract (with an option for an additional two years) worth about €500 million, for public transport in the region Waterland in the Netherlands starting December 2011. The contract drew opposition from local activist groups who accuse Egged of supporting Israel's settlements policy in the West Bank, and consider the company's winning the tender as indirect Dutch support for Israel's settlements policy, according to reports by Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Egged's Dutch subsidiary denies being involved in politics.
Jerusalem Light Rail
In October 2010, Egged bought Veolia Transport's share in the Jerusalem Light Rail after a deal with the Dan Bus Company fell through. However in March 2018 it was revealed that Egged will be prohibited from tendering to operate the light rail over competition concerns.
From the late 1990s until January 2011, Egged operated gender-segregated lines, commonly called Mehadrin bus lines mainly running in and/or between major Haredi population centers. In these buses men sat at the front and women were expected to wear "modest dress." The "mehadrin" lines were criticized after a woman, Miriam Shear, was allegedly assaulted for refusing to give up her seat to a male passenger and move to the back of the bus. In January 2011, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that forced separation of men and women on buses was illegal but allowed voluntary separation for a one-year experimental period. The court, accepting the recommendations of an investigation committee, ordered the removal of signs designating buses as segregated and the installation of new signs informing passengers of their right to sit wherever they wanted.
In later years Egged Bus Cooperative has expanded its services, through its subsidiary company Egged Tours, by offering organized trips abroad for Israelis as well as daily tours in Israel for tourists. Egged Tours is an IATA licensed company which operates as a wholesale company for organized tours all over the world and Israel for groups and individuals. Its services include: flights, organized tours, accommodation and trips all year round.
- תכנית תחרות ענף התחבורה הציבורית באוטובוסים 2030-2018 שנים [Competition Plan for Bus Public Transportation for Years 2018–2030] (PDF) (Report) (in Hebrew). Israel Ministry of Transport. June 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
- "הרפורמה בתחבורה הציבורית נמשכת: השר כץ אישר עקרונות הסכם הפעלה חדש עם אגד לעשור הקרוב" [The Public Transport Reform Continues: Minister Katz Approved New Operation Agreement with Egged for the Next Decade]. Government Services and Information Website (in Hebrew). Government of Israel. June 13, 2018. Archived from the original on June 14, 2018. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
- Russell, Raymond (1995). Utopia in Zion: the Israeli experience with worker cooperatives. SUNY Press, Albany, N.Y. pp. 134–141. ISBN 978-0-7914-2443-8.
- Harel, Zvi (February 4, 2003). "Egged wins NIS 52M in damages against PA and Arafat". Haaretz. Archived from the original on November 5, 2011.
- Kedmi, Sharon (December 20, 2005). "Fresh future for Egged". Haaretz. Archived from the original on February 10, 2012.
- Barak, Benny (December 4, 2007). "Egged considers expanding operations in Eastern Europe". Ynetnews. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- Barak, Benny (November 12, 2006). "Egged buys Polish bus company". Ynetnews. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012.
- Barak, Benny (May 4, 2011). "Egged to operate buses in Amsterdam". Ynetnews. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011.
- "Pro-Palestinian group in the Netherlands calls for boycott of Israeli bus company". Haaretz. July 16, 2011. Archived from the original on July 19, 2011.
- Avi Bar-Eli (November 25, 2010). "Dan suing as Veolia rides with Egged". The Marker. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
- Egged set to be banned from operating Jerusalem light rail Globes March 28, 2018
- Isabel Kershner, "Religious-Secular Divide, Tugging at Israel's Heart" Archived January 10, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, New York Times, September 3, 2009
- Daphna Berman, Woman beaten on J'lem bus for refusing to move to rear seat Archived July 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Haaretz, December 17, 2006. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
- Izenberg, Dan; Mandel, Jonah (January 6, 2011). "Court scraps 'mehadrin' buses". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved January 18, 2011.
- "Haredim request private buslines". israpost.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015.
- "Day Tours in Israel" Archived October 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Egged's English Website. Retrieved June 10, 2014
- "About Egged Tours" Archived October 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Egged Tours' English Website. Retrieved June 10, 2014
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