|Parent||Self-owned (worker cooperative)
|Headquarters||142 Menachem Begin Road
Tel Aviv 64921
|Service area||Israel (nationwide)
Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd (Hebrew: אֶגֶד), a cooperative owned by its members, 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.
Egged provides about 55% of Israel's public transport services, employs 6,227 workers and operates a fleet of 2,861 buses (including 57 armoured buses). Egged buses make 25,267 trips every day, transporting about a million passengers over 720,073 km of roads.
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 cross-country 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.
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. 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 1,400 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 Bydgoszcz. Mobilis owns 117 buses, 60 operated for public transportation in Warsaw and the rest 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
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.
The Haredi public has requested to operate private bus lines but they were blocked by the transportation ministry.
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.
- Figures from Egged's website
- 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.
- Kedmi, Sharon (December 20, 2005). "Fresh future for Egged". Haaretz.
- Barak, Benny (December 4, 2007). "Egged considers expanding operations in Eastern Europe". Ynetnews.com.
- Barak, Benny (November 12, 2006). "Egged buys Polish bus company". Ynetnews.com.
- Barak, Benny (May 4, 2011). "Egged to operate buses in Amsterdam". Ynetnews.com.
- "Pro-Palestinian group in the Netherlands calls for boycott of Israeli bus company". Haaretz. July 16, 2011.
- Avi Bar-Eli (2010-11-25). "Dan suing as Veolia rides with Egged". The Marker. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
- Isabel Kershner, "Religious-Secular Divide, Tugging at Israel’s Heart", New York Times, 3 September 2009
- Daphna Berman, Woman beaten on J'lem bus for refusing to move to rear seat, Haaretz, 17 December 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-08.
- Izenberg, Dan; Mandel, Jonah (January 6, 2011). "Court scraps ‘mehadrin’ buses". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2011-01-18.
- Haredim request private buslines
- "Day Tours in Israel", Egged's English Website, Retrieved 2014-06-10
- "About Egged Tours", Egged Tours' English Website, Retrieved 2014-06-10
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