Why isn’t the Jewish New Year on December 31st? The Hebrews used a lunar calendar long before the Gregorian calendar established the system used around the world. The Jewish calendar contains 12 months and consists of 353 to 355 days.
One tradition of the holiday is the blowing of the shofar, a ram’s horn that doubles as a wind instrument. In biblical times, its uses varied from communicating signals in battle to announcing the beginning of the Sabbath. Now, it is primarily used at synagogue services at this time of year.
At sundown on September 17, Jews will observe Yom Kippur, which means “day of atonement.” During Yom Kippur, observers abstain from eating and drinking and participate in daylong prayers of repentance. Forgiveness is asked for sins committed during the year.
300-mile ride costs $10 on Midwest’s megabus
July 9, 2006 | Timothy W. Martin The airline industry has long had its upstart, low-cost, no- frills carriers. Now the bus industry has one serving eight Midwestern cities for as little as $1.50 a ride.
With visions of becoming the Southwest Airlines of the bus business, little megabus.com, a unit of Stagecoach Group’s Coach USA, is offering riders who are willing to wait on street corners trips between Chicago and Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul and St. Louis.
Targeting motorists who are weary of $3-a-gallon gasoline and congested highways, megabus has attracted 73,000 riders since it launched operations in April. Carmela Spates recently booked a round- trip ticket on megabus from Chicago to Milwaukee. The cost: $2.50. “It’s real cheap, so even when you stop and eat, you’re still saving money,” says Spates, a 38-year-old accountant. go to website megabus promotion code
The company’s bright blue, 55-seat buses are painted with pictures of portly uniformed men proclaiming “From $1″ above an asterisk that mentions “plus 50-cent reservation fee.” But not everyone rides so cheaply. Passengers book seats online on a first-come, first-served basis, and prices vary depending on availability, destination and departure time. As many as seven $1 tickets are sold per trip, but most riders pay $10 to $15. Fares can go as high as $50 for latecomers.
But most fares are significantly lower than those offered by Greyhound Lines Inc., a unit of Laidlaw International Inc. A one-way ticket from Chicago to Cleveland, purchased about two weeks in advance, costs $45 on Greyhound, compared with $15 on megabus. The same route and time on Amtrak sells for $69, though the trip is one hour shorter.
Of course, the inexpensive service still faces some bumps in the road. As one bus prepared to leave Chicago for Indianapolis Saturday morning, flames were spotted in a wheel well. After the fire was put out, the bus was pulled from service and replaced with another. megabuspromotioncodenow.com megabus promotion code
Joe Stanfield, a 23-year-old art dealer from Chicago, was waiting to board another megabus to St. Louis, where he was going to attend a bachelor party. He said he had seen a lot of strange things on buses around the country, but not a fire. “That’s a first,” he said. “And I hope it’s the last.” The incident highlights safety concerns that have been raised about low-fare buses in recent years. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has recently stepped up scrutiny of inexpensive bus services running between Northeastern cities like Boston and Washington. Last year, buses run by Boston-based Fung Wah Bus Transportation Inc. and Travel Pack caught fire on the road.
Dale Moser, president of Coach USA, says he didn’t know about the incident, but that “we take all those issues very seriously.” He says the company has the most stringent preventive measures in the industry, inspecting its 18 buses every 6,000 miles or 45 days, and its drivers’ accreditation and work patterns meet federal standards, such as being limited to 10-hour shifts.
Low ridership forced the company to cancel service to and from Columbus, Ohio, but Moser says megabus is contemplating other routes in the Midwest. Expansion outside of the Midwest isn’t in the company’s plans, though he didn’t rule it out.
Because passengers book tickets online and megabus has no passenger terminals of its own (it stores its buses in downtown Chicago), expenses are kept to a minimum, about $15,000 a week, he says. Costs come to about $1.70 per mile traveled, so a Milwaukee- Chicago one-way trip totals about $160. “If I see us getting just north of 50 percent [seat capacity] that makes me extremely happy,” he says.
Still, rivals say they’re not too worried. An Amtrak spokesman says it has a much different clientele of overnight business travelers. “It’s really a different product,” the spokesman says. Greyhound says its customers can walk in and buy a ticket on the day they travel, rather than having to reserve it online. Then, they can wait in terminals with wireless Internet and TV sets.
While megabus coaches do have bathrooms, other amenities could go missing. One recent bus left Chicago for St. Louis with a broken air conditioner, so the driver climbed atop a seat and wedged a plastic bottle into the emergency exit to generate some air flow. “For $8, I can’t really complain,” says passenger Ryan Pearson, 24. “If it was like a Greyhound bus or a full-price bus I would have been angry, but I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever. What can you do?’” Timothy W. Martin
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