Egged bus 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Transportation officials in Jerusalem are hoping that Friday the 13th will bring
good luck, rather than bad, when a major overhaul of the capital’s public
transportation system will go into effect. The January 13 change will affect 22
bus lines in the southwestern quarter of the city.
RELATED:Reform of TA public transportation gets off to humble start
The overhaul is part
of a larger switch from long bus routes that wind through multiple neighborhoods
across the city to shorter bus routes that bring residents from each
neighborhood to the major transportation arteries of the light rail or Bus Rapid
Transit (BRT) lanes.
Jerusalem’s public transportation system is roughly
based on an “X” shape, with the light rail and the BRT lanes dividing the city
into four quadrants.
The changes will first be rolled out in 17
neighborhoods in the southwest part of the city, including Rehavia, Kiryat
Yovel, Beit Hakerem and Ein Kerem. It could take up to a year for the full
changes to come into effect across the city.
Twenty-two bus lines will be
affected in the first stage of changes, roughly 40 percent of the bus lines in
the city. In an effort to avoid widespread confusion ahead of the change, 450
attendants will fan out across the city in the coming week to answer any
questions related to bus changes.
The changes mean most residents will
have to make at least one switch in order to reach their destination, a concern
for the elderly and the handicapped, as well as parents with multiple
“All modern transportation systems are based on transfers,”
said Alex Langer, the director of the Transportation Ministry.
have lines that go everywhere,” he said.
Langer also defended the concern
that creating a system which relied heavily on one light rail route would be
opening the city to serious issues in the event of a terrorist attack on the
“We are a city that has to deal with situations and terror
attacks, something that doesn’t happen in other cities, but any network can fall
victim to problems,” he said. In case of an emergency, additional bus routes
will be used to avoid a complete shutdown of the city.
There are still a
variety of challenges transportation officials are facing while trying to
implement the overhaul of the public transportation network.
the light rail, or times close to Shabbat or holidays when buses still run but
the light rail does not, can leave large holes in the transportation
It will be an additional four months until the light rail is
running at full capacity and leaving every 4.5 minutes. Currently, waiting time
for the light rail can be 15 minutes or more.
Issues with Rav-Kav cards,
which caused hours-long lines in November and then did not work on both the
trains and buses as promised, are almost solved, said transportation
AgripPas Street next to the shuk remains a transportation
nightmare, but the 16 bus lines along the road will be reduced to eight, a
decrease of at least 400 bus trips per day.
Travelers can plan their bus
trips and find additional information on the Jerusalem Transportation website,
. The website is not yet available in English.