Mercedes-Benz OC500 42044
Location: Route 40 between Har HaAyit and Neot Smadar, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Egged
Date of Photo: November 13, 2011
What is the most surprising place you’ve found public transit services? There have been quite a few times in my travels over the years I’ve seen a bus stop in a seemingly random place and wondered how much service really comes out here and how many people actually board or alight here. Although it makes up over 55 percent of Israel’s land area, the Negev desert is home to only about 8 percent of its population. Yet there are bus stops throughout the desert and considering the low population densities and distances between places, many routes operate a minimum of four to five trips per day. Why so much service? Much of the land is used by the Israeli Army, and soldiers ride free on public transit, so they take buses to and from their bases. In addition, the resort town of Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, has regular service to cities in the central and northern parts of the country in order to cater to vacationers. Besides the bus, the most common ways to travel to Eilat are by plane (expensive and inconvenient for anyone not coming from Tel Aviv) or driving (on two lane roads through miles upon miles of desert). Needless to say, the bus is a popular option, and reservations are recommended for the buses to and from Eilat.
Why do I say those are the most common ways of getting to Eilat? When I took this photo, I was on an organized bike ride that ended in Eilat. It might not be the way most people get there, but it does create opportunities to get photos of buses as they cross the desert.
For more photos of Egged Intercity Buses in Southern Israel, please click here.