TEL AVIV (Aug. 17)
Tel Aviv’s new Central Bus Station, which opens its doors to the public this week, is being described as among the largest and most modern in the world.
The new station is a seven-story building with 276,000 square yards of indoor space. In addition to being fully air conditioned, the structure has special gas-extraction pumps to remove bus exhaust from the building.
Four floors are reserved for the arrivals and departures of the 87 bus lines of the Egged Interurban Bus Cooperative and the 40 Dan bus lines serving the Greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
Interurban buses linking the entire country will enter and leave the station via ramps connected to the Ayalon Limited Access Throughway, which leads to Jerusalem and the area north of Tel Aviv.
Private concessions — including stores, restaurants and souvenir shops — will occupy the three remaining floors.
Some parking lots and taxi facilities still need to be completed.
Opening ceremonies were held Tuesday night — a quarter of a century after the cornerstone was laid.
The station has had a succession of owners and builders since the idea for the terminal first took shape on drawing boards 25 years ago.
One after another, these hopeful entrepreneurs went broke because of rising costs and construction and licensing delays.
Residents in streets adjoining the new terminal fought a long legal battle to prevent the station from opening, claiming that noise and gas fumes would pollute the neighborhood.
As part of the settlement that enabled construction to go ahead, private homes in the neighborhood will have acoustic panels fitted to their windows.