A long-awaited overhaul in the Haifa metropolitan area’s public transportation
system will begin to take shape this Friday, as a portion of the extensive
Metronit bus rapid transit (BRT) project begins to hit the roads throughout the
Making use of approximately 40 kilometers of exclusive BRT lanes,
the low-to-the-ground and high capacity Metronit aims for efficiency and
convenience with its 84 efficient diesel and six hybrid vehicles, according to
the Transportation Ministry.
The first Metronit buses will appear on
Haifa’s transportation routes on July 26, traveling only during non-peak hours
to avoid interference with normal bus activity.
By August 2, however, all
90 Metronit vehicles will begin operating, as will the 143 new platforms as well
as electronic ticketing systems, the municipality said.
At this time,
changes to the overall Haifa regional public transportation system will also
begin to occur, with improvements in regular bus routes throughout Haifa, Tirat
Carmel, Nesher and other suburbs gradually happening by August 16.
Haifa metropolitan region is continuously evolving and the launch of the
Metronit is an important part of the city’s development,” said Haifa Mayor Yona
Yahav on behalf of all the region’s mayors. “The municipalities were full
partners in the Metronit project and in improving the entire public
transportation system in the region. We will continue to work toward improving
resident services and public transportation, which is an important component of
At the beginning of the public Metronit service on August
2, riders will be able to take the BRT system free of charge, for an as of yet
unspecified period of time, Yahav and Transportation Minister Israel Katz have
The goal of the Metronit system is to make public transportation
in the Haifa metropolitan region more efficient and convenient for residents and
visitors, with greater frequency of buses, longer hours of operation and a more
pleasant overall travel experience, the municipality
Developing the new system has involved a collaboration among
the Transportation Ministry, the relevant municipalities, resident
representatives, public transportation operators and the Yefe Nof
Katz praised the Haifa metropolitan area for becoming the first
region in Israel to take on such an advanced, quality-service public
The Metronit, he explained, will enjoy an
exclusive “right of way” on the region’s roads, and boarding and alighting from
the vehicles will be an efficient process with automated ticket validation at
“This is a real revolution,” Katz said. “I hope that the
Metronit’s operation will change the reality of transportation in the Haifa
metropolitan area, which will be a model to other cities in Israel and will
encourage the use of public transportation.”
Dror Gannon, deputy director
of the Transportation Ministry’s public transportation division, reminded the
public that it is important to be patient with the implementation of the new
transportation system, as adjustments may be necessary along the way to achieve
maximum stability. The Jerusalem Light Rail, for example, took six to eight
months to reach optimized function, he added.
In addition to including 40
kilometers of exclusive Metronit lanes, the system contains 143 brand-new
platforms, as well as upgraded above-ground and underground infrastructure,
explained Jacky Vakim, CEO of the Yefe Nof.
“The major stage has been
completed and now we are preparing for the next stage, which is expected to
include an expansion of the system and the addition of a new Metronit line,”
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