Agripas bus traffic may decrease by 20%

Merchants ask for compensation for lost business incurred by rail’s construction.

Jerusalem bus 521 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Jerusalem bus 521
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Traffic along Agripas road in downtown Jerusalem may decrease by up to 20 percent after transportation officials decided to reroute five bus lines starting Wednesday, due to heavy traffic on the narrow road.
The routes of lines 8a, 17, 39, 50, and 124 were changed, and will no longer travel down Agripas Street. More than 2,100 buses travel on Agripas each day. After today, bus traffic will be reduced by about 15%, or 300 buses.
This summer, the Jerusalem bus system will undergo a dramatic change as more than 50 bus lines will be altered after the light rail starts operating in mid-August.
Also on Wednesday, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat attended an emergency meeting of the Knesset Economic Committee, which discussed the issue of compensation for merchants on Agripas, and in the downtown area, who have been suffering economically from the obstructions created by the light rail’s construction.
MK Rachel Adatto (Kadima) initiated a tour of the downtown area on Sunday to meet with business owners. She told the committee that one of the merchants told her “the light rail has succeeded in doing what terrorism couldn’t,” referring to the closing of small shops. “Downtown business owners shouldn’t have to finance the construction of the light rail,” Adatto added.
Merchants in the Mahaneh Yehudah shuk claim that the light rail has caused NIS 1.7 billion in damages, and are demanding compensation. Barkat said that the city does not have the funds to compensate the merchants, but he appealed to the state to help compensate the business owners.
While committee members expressed skepticism that such an initiative could be realized, they said they would support compensation legislation if it arose.
More information about the route changes is available on the Egged Website, or by calling the national information center for public transportation, “Kav Rav” at *7878.