After years of anticipation, residents of Rahat report enthusiastically about the new public transportation system that recently began service in the city
Fatma, a local resident and former YEDID volunteer who now works in Beer Sheva commented on how the new buses have improved her life. “It’s great to no longer have to rely on the mercy of unreliable transit drivers,” she exclaimed. “They don’t have a set schedule and often made me late for work”.
This new bus system is the product of a several year long campaign waged by local Rahat citizens, part of a grassroots community organizing group called "Citizens Organizing for Change" founded by YEDID. This is the first time in the history of the State of Israel that public transportation has been made available in a Bedouin area.
YEDID coordinator and Rahat resident, Elham, has been surveying local responses to Rahat’s new reality. She reported excitedly that the bus prices are considered very reasonable, making it affordable and convenient for city residents to get around Rahat and to neighboring towns.
She described how in the first few days of the operation of the new transportation system, “school children were so excited that they were riding the buses just for fun!” On Saturday, local market day, the buses were full to overflowing, shuttling people back and forth. “People were waiting at the market bus stop as if it was something they had been doing their whole lives,” she said.