Egged bus #37390 operates through Afula on Route 824, since discontinued.
|Parent||Self-owned (worker cooperative)|
|Headquarters||142 Menachem Begin Road
Tel Aviv 64921
|Service area|| Israel Israel (nationwide)
|Web site||Egged (English)|
Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd (Hebrew: אגד) is the largest transit bus company in Israel, and the second largest in the world among operators that operate only public transit buses (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 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 deregulation attempts 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, DAF 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, International, Fiat and more.
Egged has purchased 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 BG JSC formed a joint venture company with Rousse municipality called EGGED ROUSSE JSC which operates the public transport in the town of Rousse. 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. The Express Piaseczno, connecting Warsaw's biggest suburb with the cities downtown, uses Mercedes buses rather than the usual Polish Solaris buses.
Some lines, mainly running in and/or between major Haredi population centers, are classified as 'Mehadrin' buses. These buses are segregated by sex and women are expected to sit in the back of the bus. An estimated 30 bus lines are sex-segregated, but they are not labeled. Drivers are not required by Egged guidelines to enforce Mehadrin guidelines.
Mehadrin routes were criticized after a woman, Miriam Shear, said she was assaulted for refusing to give up her seat to a male passenger and move to the back of the bus. The bus driver said he saw a crowd around Shear and stopped the bus to inform passengers that his line was not sex-segregated. Another passenger, however, was reported to confirm Shear's account. A similar incident occurred in 2007. Critics have likened the Mehadrin lines to racial segregation in the United States, with Shear compared to African American icon Rosa Parks.