The Jerusalem Triangle’light rail train 521.
(photo credit: Photos: ‘The Jerusalem Triangle’)
After nearly four months of operation, Jerusalem’s light rail will begin
charging passengers on Thursday, December 1. The cost of a ride on the light
rail will be the same as a bus ticket, NIS 6.40, and will allow for unlimited
transfers between the train and buses in a 90-minute window.
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were initially allowed to ride for free on the light rail after it began
operation in mid-August due to problems with the ticket machine and
disagreements with Egged over how the ticket profits would be divided between
buses and the light rail.
Additionally, the light rail is not running at
full capacity, with only 14 of the 21 trains being used due to disagreements
over the traffic lights.
The regular traffic lights, which are only now
being updated to give trains preference at intersections, nearly double the time
it takes for the train to travel from Pisgat Zeev to Mount
Currently, only 40 of the 100 traffic lights have been updated,
despite promises from Citypass, the consortium of companies that runs the train,
to update all the traffic lights by mid-October.
Dozens of CityPass
workers fanned out across the light rail to explain to customers how to use the
kiosks to purchase tickets. There will also be a number of inspectors on the
trains, who will fine riders with no tickets NIS 180.
tickets can be swiped at any door to the train, rather than with the driver,
raising some fears of passengers riding without paying.
which cost NIS 227, were available starting Sunday. Egged monthly passes are
good on the light rail as well. In November, the city switched over to
electronic cards call RavKav, which are good on all buses and trains. The
switch, which coincided with the beginning of classes for university students,
created massive lines where passengers who had not signed up for the card in the
six months prior were forced to wait for hours to get their card.
Councilor Merav Cohen (Jerusalem Awakening), condemned CityPass for starting to
charge passengers before the system is operating at full capacity.
they are doing is actually locking in Jerusalem residents from every
On the one hand, they’re forcing them to pay for a subpar
service from the train, and on the other hand, they’re stopping bus services
from some of the city lines,” said Cohen. “What do they expect them to do,
walk?!” Cohen threatened court action or organizing a possible boycott if the
train charged passengers before it was fully operational.
the world, they require payment from the first day, only in Jerusalem for three
months already thousands of passengers every day are traveling for free at
CityPass’s expense,” said CityPass spokesman Ozel Vatik in response. “It is
incredibly clear that someone who chooses to travel by light rail needs to pay
for this service.”
But councilor Cohen also slammed the train for subpar
safety. On Sunday, an elderly man was rushed to the hospital in grave condition
after being struck by a train near the Old City. It was the first light rail
incident that resulted in a pedestrian being hospitalized.
been more than a dozen small accidents involving cars and pedestrians who
crossed the tracks at illegal crossings and were struck by trains, though there
were no serious injuries.
The major bus changes that Cohen mentioned are
set to take affect only after at least 18 trains are running, up from the
current 14. The Independent Safety Assessment, an international certification
for light rails around the world, will not give City- Pass the OK to increase
the number of trains until the consortium solves communication problems between
the various companies running the light rail and fixes some technical
Currently, there are approximately 40,000 trips made on the
light rail each day, though at full capacity it will be able to handle 100,000