Jerusalem on Board
Jerusalem On Board connects peripheral neighborhoods in Jerusalem to job opportunities by implementing fast, direct bus routes to employment centers. In Jerusalem, trip times on public transportation take an average of 4 times longer than a private car, and 10% of buses fail to show up at all. 15 Minutes-Public Transport Alliance recently convinced the Ministry of Transport to break service provider monopolies, creating a timely opportunity to transform transportation in Jerusalem.
Residents are the ones that can best define their needs. JoB utilizes local knowledge and empowers residents to take part in designing inclusive, effective public transportation systems by facilitating diverse groups of Jerusalemites to meet and identify transportation failures and potential solutions in their communities. Over a series of meetings and workshops groups will collaborate with professional planners, students, employers, youth groups, service providers and government officials to design direct routes from their neighborhoods to high capacity employment centers. This is a chance for residents to have a direct impact on mobility in Jerusalem and design bus lines that will increase connectivity and revitalize Jerusalem’s economy.
What is the mission and purpose of this program?
Jerusalem on Board aims to connect peripheral neighborhoods in Jerusalem to high quality employment opportunities by implementing fast, direct routes to work. The project also serves as a platform for dialogue and cooperation between Jerusalem’s diverse populations, as well as an opportunity for cross-sectoral collaboration across public, private, and non-profit sectors. Increasing connectivity via public transportation contributes to our overall mission of revitalizing Jerusalem's economy by granting the right to mobility to all citizens, regardless of geographical location or financial status. Improving public transportation has the added benefit of decreasing chronic traffic jams, improving air quality, and making Jerusalem cleaner and more livable for everyone.
Jerusalem on Board invites Jerusalem residents from different religious, ethnic, and socio-economic sectors from four major neighborhoods; Ramot, Gilo, Kiryat Yovel, and Beit Hanina to participate in a series of 8 meetings and workshops over a 4-month period. First, participants will discuss, identify, and map areas in their neighborhood where bus routes are needed. Then, each resident group will work with transport planners, municipal officials, and employers to design a map of new bus routes to and from selected high capacity employment centers (Givat Ram, Talpiot, Har Hotzvim, and Givat Shaul).
After identifying underserved areas and working with professionals and city officials to design new direct routes to employment centers, the groups will began campaigning for their implementation. Following capacity building workshops, resident activists will organize both within and outside of their communities. They’ll initiate media campaigns to draw public attention, collect data using the 15 Minutes original app or hotline, interview residents about their needs, hold community awareness events, and speak to Knesset committees.
Also integral to the program is the involvement of passionate, educated youth. As part of JoB, youth groups will be active in at least one school in each selected neighborhood. 15 Minutes youth groups have been consistently successful at launching media campaigns and garnering support for changes in transport, such as the youth group at Keshet school in Jerusalem who successfully advocated for rear-boarding, cutting down on trip times and easing access on Jerusalem buses.
With guidance from 15 Minutes, citizen activist groups will launch a multi-faceted, well-informed campaign for new direct bus lines, revitalizing their neighborhoods and improving employment opportunities for some of Jerusalem’s most vulnerable residents.
Public transport users are disproportionately from low socio-economic backgrounds. Jerusalem's high poverty rates (39% of families, as opposed to the national average of 19%, according to the Jerusalem Institute) mean more dependence on public transportation as a sole means of mobility, and Jerusalem’s public transportation is not keeping up with this intense demand. A study conducted by 15 Minutes found that at least 10% of bus rides never happen. The Marker put the number even higher, finding some bus lines where 1 in 3 buses never show up. When it comes to the amount of bus lines and public transportation according to population size, Jerusalem has dropped from 9th place in 2013, to 15th place in Israel in 2017.
Lack of transportation is a major obstacle to finding employment for those unable to afford or operate private vehicles. In one recent study, young people stated lack of transportation as their main barrier in finding suitable employment. The International Monetary Fund stated that “Israel’s transportation infrastructure is insufficient and threatening to turn into a drag on economic growth” (March, 2018). The Bank of Israel agreed, saying “The government must step up investment to ensure commuting times don’t grow any longer. Investment should be directed more toward mass transit”. Jerusalem is more dependent on public transportation than any other Israeli city, with 34% of the population using public transportation to get to work every day (compared to a national average of 21%). Within the current system, these Jerusalemites are simply stranded with no viable alternative. Following the recent achievements of 15 Minutes to convince the municipal and national government to make changes in existing transit systems (to be detailed in the next section), Jerusalem is poised before a major opportunity to revitalize and expand public transportation structures, increasing mobility and providing essential access to employment.
15 Minutes – Public Transport Alliance originated in Jerusalem in 2009 and has been active nation-wide since 2013. Our origins are very similar to our vision for the JoB program. In 2009, a group of Katamon residents organized to request a direct bus line that would take them from their S. Jerusalem neighborhood to the Central Bus Station in 15 minutes. After enlisting the support of fellow residents, experts and municipal officials, the Egged bus company agreed to institute line 15, one of the most heavily used bus lines in the city.
Following this success, the organization (still headed and influenced by a strong group of Jerusalem activists) set its sights on broader, farther reaching initiatives. Since then our activities have resulted in the addition of over 50 new bus lines nation-wide, and 20 additional direct lines to employment centers. We specialize in establishing and supporting citizen activism so the real needs of residents are heard and met by decision makers.
Last year, 15 Minutes activists in Tel Aviv surveyed and mapped service failures in the south Tel Aviv/north Jaffa area and launched an extensive campaign petitioning for more direct bus lines. Their campaign was successful and they were awarded 3 new bus lines. A similar story happened in Rosh HaAyn when a 15 Minutes backed group of employees conducted research and were successful in petitioning for new direct lines to their workplace.
With our JoB program, we plan to copy past successful pilots like those in Tel Aviv and Rosh haAyn and adapt them to the Jerusalem context. Our experience in community organizing, campaign success rate and understanding of Jerusalem makes the JoB project one with great potential.
A recent 15 Minutes influenced decision to break transport monopolies in Jerusalem increases competition and holds service providers accountable, as well as signals a willingness by the national and municipal government to make real changes to transport systems in Jerusalem.
How do you measure the success of your program?
We will measure our success according to the degree that we accomplish the following goals:
-At least 2 new direct bus lines approved in each selected neighborhood to high capacity employment centers
-Establishment of a minimum of one active school youth group in each neighborhood
-At least 10 reliable and present leading team of activists in each neighborhood
-Involvement of 200-500 residents in each neighborhood in community events, campaigns and reporting from the ground.
-Weekly or bi-weekly media presence in local and national news outlets
-High attendance rates at bi-monthly inter-neighborhood forums