An Israel Railways cross-country train was overloaded with passengers on Sunday morning, the start of the Israeli working week, despite the coronavirus mitigation rules stating that each train may hold no more than 50% of the maximum number of passengers.
The passengers on the train were snapped sitting close together with no way to socially distance or adhere to the regulations, while some passengers were even forced to stand due to the lack of available seating.
Marie, who boarded the train in Haifa at 7:36 am and provided the pictures, told Ynet: "I've been traveling since the start of the coronavirus and not once have I seen anything like this. I got off at Tel Aviv University, and until that point the train was very crowded."
According to Marie, each passenger is supposed to book a travel voucher in advance that states at which station the passenger can board the train, in order to avoid such cases of overcrowding.
“It turns out that it’s all just for show," she said.
"I went to one of the coronavirus inspectors on the train and he told me he wasn’t in charge, so I went to the supervisor and he simply ignored me. No one cares.”
Ronit, who boarded the same train at 6:56 am on her way to Tel Aviv told Ynet: “People were sitting huddled between the carriages. I stood for the whole journey because I had nowhere to sit. Apparently people buy a voucher for one station but get on wherever they want."
The Israel Railways said in response that the overcrowding was an isolated incident and due to a smaller train being used.
"This was an overload at a very specific point for a one-level train that began its journey in Nahariya and went to Be'er Sheva," the company said.
"Demand increased on a certain section of the journey, unlike on most two-level trains where no passengers numbers were seen beyond what is allowed," it said.
“We are reviewing the allocation of seats on this train and intend to look into how this line and others operate before next Sunday to make sure that this does not happen again," it said.
“Since the trains began running again, we have been operating a professional and high-quality system to limit the number of passengers and to comply with the Health Ministry guidelines," Israel Railways said.
“This system has proven itself in recent months and has allowed the trains to run in a professional manner that includes safeguarding people's health.”