The Knesset Finance Committee on Wednesday approved the transfer of NIS 2.3 billion to Israel Railways. The money is a state subsidy authorized by the Ministry of Finance to assist the railway to encourage additional passengers to use the rail.
According to Israel Railways CEO Yitzhak Harel, 2008 saw a ten percent increase in train use and 2009 was expected to see an additional increase of 1,000,000 rides. "We will complete 2009 with 36 million rides and we believe that in 2011, when we open the line to Rishon Lezion, we will have six million more," he said.
Harel explained that 70% of the train company's incomes were generated from sales and 30% was from the government subsidy. He added that the agreement with the Finance Ministry was dependent on the company's service performance and included things like punctuality, customer satisfaction and government oversight.