Ministry: Plans for J’lem cable car 'unrealistic'

Transportation Ministry dismisses project for line connecting Old City to other major sites as unrealistic tourist attraction and reelection rhetoric.

Jewish Quater in the Old City of Jerusalem, 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
Jewish Quater in the Old City of Jerusalem, 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
A spokesperson for the Transportation Ministry on Thursday shot down the proposed construction of a cable car system in Jerusalem, calling the plans “unrealistic.”
According to the Jerusalem Municipality proposal, construction on the cable car would begin in 2015 with the goal of connecting the Old City to the Mount of Olives and the Khan Theater. The system would be capable of transporting over 6,000 passengers per hour, in roughly four minutes, along the 1.6 kilometer route to and from the Dung Gate.
The spokesperson, who requested anonymity, said that the figures provided by the municipality are grossly inflated and that the cable line is not considered a serious project.
“This is not a proposal, it’s nothing more than [an] idea, if that,” the spokesperson said. “The [transportation minister] has yet to review this project and there’s no way such a cable car could transport as many people as the municipality is claiming. It’s a big exaggeration.”
Still, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement that the cable car system would be instrumental in assisting the city to accommodate the millions of visitors to the Western Wall and the Old City each year.
“Beyond being a transportation solution, a cable car will be an innovative and unique tourist attraction and offer breathtaking views of the city,” said Barkat. “It will also strengthen and increase the number of tourists arriving in Jerusalem.”
Barkat added that the cable car would be integrated as a supplement to the light rail line system currently traversing the capital.
Nonetheless, the spokesperson dismissed the mayor’s claims as “reelection rhetoric” and dismissed the idea as little more than a “tourist attraction,” but not a viable transportation model.
“This is more about his reelection than a serious model for the city’s infrastructure,” the spokesperson said. “The infrastructure of the city is [an] extremely complicated subject because of the sensitivity to the Old City. Any such plans are far from being approved.”
A municipality spokesperson said in response, “Mayor Barkat’s initiative, for the first time, advances a unique project that will not only become a tourist attraction but will also serve as a transportation solution for travelers to the Dung Gate and the Mount of Olives and will mesh with the new light rail lines planned by the municipality.”
“The municipality is working to finalize planning, get the resources and advance the proposal through various committees, all in an effort to bring the project to fruition,” the spokesperson added.