New J'lem city buses unveiled along with new transit plan

Egged: "The residents of Jerusalem will be able to enjoy the most advanced public transportation network in the country.”

bus311 (photo credit: Sarah Levin)
(photo credit: Sarah Levin)
Transportation reporters were invited to the capital on Monday to participate in the public launch of the city’s newest public transportation solution – high-volume buses.
In an event attended by the transportation minister, Jerusalem’s mayor and Egged’s secretary-general, the transit company unveiled its brand new high-capacity buses, which, together with the near completion of the light rail, is aimed a resolving the city’s traffic problems.
So far 10 buses have been supplied, with 20 more planned to be introduced within a month. Eventually 150 of the new buses are planned to hit the streets.
The new buses measure 19 meters in length and are capable of carrying 140 passengers each.
Featuring four doors, which enable rapid boarding and offloading of passengers, a visual and audio announcing system and modern seating and air-conditioning systems, the new buses should provide increased comfort for passengers.
The buses also ride low to the ground, enabling easier access to the disabled or those pushing baby carriages.
The buses are painted green and grey and support a Euro 5 standard rating, meaning the are less polluting.
As is common in metro and subway trains in other parts of the world, there are several route maps inside each bus.
Most importantly, the buses will operate on a network of specially designated rapid-transit lanes, the first of which is an eight-kilometer long route stretching from Derech Hebron to Golda Meir Street via the city center.
Eventually the planners aim to have six such routes, all giving preference to public transportation at traffic lights, with buses leaving at high frequencies, providing the capital with a Bus Rapid Transit solution, in tandem with the light rail.
The new buses, as well as the trams, will be supported by 42 feeder lines collecting passengers from the city’s neighborhoods.
The stops along the lines are all planned as “smart bus stops,” featuring digital signs informing passengers of bus arrivals in real time with the aid of GPS communications.
Passengers will also be able to transfer from one bus to another or from the light rail to the bus, using a single “smart card.”
Altogether, the transportation plan is estimated to cost NIS 530 million.
According to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Jerusalem features the highest number of public transportation users in the country, with 40 percent of its residents using the public transportation daily.
He said that the introduction of the highvolume buses and the increase in their frequency would spur even more people to use them.
“This is the first step in the reshaping of public transportation in Jerusalem, which in the future will also feature the light rail...
and place Jerusalem on par with the biggest and most developed cities in the world,” said Katz.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat added that that the city “is entering a new age of transportation.
“We are already introducing the new, fast and high-volume buses, which will run on specially designated routes, taking passengers from place to place quickly and efficiently,” he said.
“Jerusalem’s transportation plan for the upcoming years will contribute to the city’s economic growth and increase the quality of life for its residents and many visitors.”
Meanwhile, Egged secretary-general Gideon Mizrachi said he is certain that the cooperation among his company, the Transportation Ministry and the municipality “will complete the missing elements of the service” still present after the project’s inaugural stage.
“I hope that after the first line, we can quickly begin operating all six planned lines, together with the light rail that will soon be operational,” he said. “The residents of Jerusalem will be able to enjoy the most advanced public transportation network in the country.”
Sybil Ehrlich contributed to this report.