The Blue Square Israel Blue Company and its partners, Easy Bass and Shuttle, won the tender of the National Public Transport Authority at the Ministry of Transportation last night to operate the municipal public transportation lines in Netanya. The three will replace Egged Transport in January 2022, which currently operates the city’s public transportation lines.
Alon Square Blue Israel, owned by businessman Motti Ben Moshe, owns 60% of the winning company, which will operate under the Extra Public Transportation brand. Easy Bass and Shuttle Hold the remaining balance – 40%.
Easy Bass is currently engaged in performing public transportation reinforcements for a variety of operators. Thus, the experience gained in the field will serve the winning group in operating public transportation in the Netanya cluster.
The entry into the field of public transportation is another step in expanding the areas of activity of Alon Square Blue Israel to the field of public transportation, in addition to the fields of real estate, energy, logistics and retail (through subsidiaries Dor Alon, IPM, Square Blue Real Estate and Naaman Group). Earlier, this week, Alon Square announced its entry into the shipping business through the acquisition of control of the shipping and logistics company Fritz. As part of the expansion of its logistics arm, Blue Square Oak signed an agreement in principle to acquire control (80%) of Fritz at a company value of approximately NIS 280 million.
Fritz is the representative of the international shipping giant FedEx and also owns Movilei Dror. As reported, Blue Square Oak will merge its bi-logistics operations into Fritz as part of the said transaction.
Expect 17.5 million trips in the first year
Yevgeny Cherkasky, CFO of Blue Square Blue, said today that part of the group’s strategy is to expand its portfolio of income-producing properties in the fields of real estate, energy and infrastructure, along with expanding retail and logistics activities. “We see public transportation in Israel as an infrastructure for everything and anything,” he said.
Cherkasky added that “this is a stable and growing field that relies on the strong demographic data of the State of Israel and the continued growth of the economy. “Public transportation in the Ministry of Transportation and in recent years can be seen impressive service additions in the new clusters. We believe in continued growth in the field along with raising the level of service in the coming decade.”
Winning the Netanya tender is the group’s first step in the field of public transportation. “Extra public transportation” will extend the public transportation lines in all residential neighborhoods and employment areas in Netanya – and provide residents and workers in and around the city with available public transportation, while adjusting the frequency of lines to demand as they develop while extending business hours, with emphasis on employment and commercial areas.
The partnership of Blue Square Oak, Easy Bass and Shuttle Shuttle will begin operating public transportation in Netanya using about 250 new buses, which meet the strict standard of air pollution (“Euro 6”). Half of the buses will be electric and will allow faster and quieter travel while some of the service lines will be operated via minibuses. The buses will include physical separation of the cab and will be equipped with a wireless network, USB sockets for charging phones and public address systems.
In the first year of operation, about 17.5 million passenger journeys are expected on the cluster lines, a number that is expected to grow dramatically over the decade thanks to the expansion of the city of Netanya and the additional service that will be required for this purpose.
The submission of the tender was accompanied by Amnon Alon, from the firm’s economic advisory firm, and Adv. Yaron Cohen, from the law firm Ardenest Ben-Natan Tolidano & Co.