They forgot us at the station

Have you ever waited on a Dan bus and it just didn’t show up? According to the State Comptroller’s report, it’s not a one off occurrence, but a system – the company simply cannot meet its commitments. And so it happens that the weakest citizens, the ones dependent upon public transport, have to go without. The State Comptroller’s report, published yesterday, dedicated a whole chapter to Dan Bus Company. I am one of the company’s customers, although in recent years I’ve been riding my bike instead. Apart from the environmental and physical benefits of riding, it seems I have made the right choice. If you also felt Dan cannot be trusted, here comes the report to prove you right. As a sampling, the State Comptroller examined seven bus routes over four months. An exact count of the travels made showed that the company had preplanned 2,240 trips less than it is bound to carry out according to their license. But it even fell short of this plan, and carried out 2,811 trips less than it was suppose to. Now we understand that each time we waited and the bus didn’t show up it wasn’t just a one off occurrence, but a system. During peak hours, the company didn’t increase the number of trips as public transport companies usually do, they were simply lazy about it, and didn’t bother to meet the targets they were supposed to meet. And so, entire parts of the population- workers, students, foreign workers, youth, outer suburbs or low income suburbs residents, and anybody else who relies on public transport – found themselves waiting at the bus stop, waiting to enjoy the promised freedom of movement in this so called liberal state. The rot starts from the top But the rot, as you know, starts from top. The government itself is also confused about its responsibilities towards Dan. Up until now the Ministry of Transportation hasn’t been able to decide who’s responsible for installing proper covers, facilities and services needed for providing suitable public transport. And what happens when we allow something to stay undefined in this chaotic world of ours? It becomes improper, i.e. social neglect, affecting our places of residence, distant enough from the houses of Mayor Ron Huldai and the City Council’s chiefs. Has any of you been aware of this problem and written in complaints? Well, Dan didn’t think your complaints were important enough. The company management, it says in the report, doesn’t look into the public’s complaints, and it isn’t clear whether any of them have been reported on, and if so, when, where and to who. Maybe they wanted to look into it, but between all their ‘how to be more efficient’ meetings and deep thoughts about the issue they gave up and went for another drink.

The company’s Ombudsmen didn’t even note in his reports how many complaints they found to be justified or unjustified. I guess he was fare and square about them all, and sent them all to the bin equally. Dan is a public company. Unlike what is happening recently, the solutions to the company’s problems shouldn’t be privatizing it. I am against handing over public companies to the hands of the private well-heeled ones, which will only make matters worse. And still, the State Comptroller’s findings need to be addressed. Who will implement and enforce the changes? Dan Management will most likely try to paint a different picture to the State Comptroller’s one, but someone will have to make some drastic changes in order to tilt back the Dan river, and clean the filthy stables.

Written by Mati Shemoelof

Translated by: Sivan Gabrielovich


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