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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year as Israel Transport תחבורה בישראל celebrates 1st Birthday

Israel Transport תחבורה בישראל would like to wish all its readers a happy new year and to mark it's first birthday.

During the past year has covered all the most important transport news stories in Israel.  These have included:

and many other stories.

Israel Transport תחבורה בישראל hopes you have benefited from the website and the news provided.  

If you would like to help support the website please contact us here.  The website receives 1000's of views and is a main source of information to residents, tourists, companies and government officials from around the world interested in news about transport in Israel.

Speed Cameras to start in Israel in January

Following an initial six month delay for the introduction of fixed-position road side speed cameras in Israel, the cameras will begin operating in January, as reported by Globes, to enforce speed limits and traffic lights across Israel.

Israel Transport תחבורה בישראל reported in March 2011 on the plan to install speed cameras along major highways in Israel to cut down on drivers breaking the speed limit and motoring accidents.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Tzipi Hotovely Member of Knesset sits at the front of a bus to protest Segregation of Women in Israel

Following the recent controversy in Israel regarding the Haredi Community's attempt to force women to sit at the back of buses in Israel, the female Member of Knesset, Tzipi Hotovely, protested these attempts.

The Likud Member of Knesset who is the Chairwoman of the Status of Women Committee, on Thursday morning sat at the front of a bus which the Haredi  Community are trying to enforce female segregation, according to the Jerusalem Post.

This followed a further attack against a female solider sitting on a bus on Wednesday.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Will Nevatim host a new International Airport in Israe? Israeli Government helping to cover El Al's security costs and Jacob Bilstein to Head the National Strategy Plan

Will Nevatim host a new International Airport in Israe? 

Israel's Transport Minister Israel Katz is proposing that Israel builds a second international airport in Nevatim in the Negev Desert, according to Ynet.  The new airport would be used to support Israel's current  international airport Ben Gurion Airport.

Nevatim Airport is currently a Military Airport in the northern Negev 5 miles south-east of Ber Sheva Israel's Cabinet has asked the Transport Minister Israel Katz and Defence Minister Ehud Barak to give their recommendations for whether Nevatim should be converted to an International Airport.  It is believed that the surrounding local Government areas support Nevatim becoming an International Airport so help develop the economy of the Negev.

Israeli Government helping to cover El Al's security costs

El Al will be refunded $5.8 million of it's security costs in 2011 by the Israeli Government.  The Israeli Government currently covers about 60% of El AL's security costs which will rise to 70% in 2012 and 80% when the European Open-Skies agreement is introduced.

Jacob Bilstein to Head the National Strategy Plan

Jacob Bilstein has been appointed by Israel's Transport Minister, Israel Katz to manage the National Transport Strategy in Israel.  The plan aims to build a national network of roads and railways between Kiryat Shemona in Northern Israel and Eilat in Southern Israel at a cost of almost $100 billion.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Israel's 20 Year Vehicle Scrap Car Compensation Plan

The Israel Transport Ministry will launch a programme on 1 January 2012 where owners of vehicles that are more than twenty years old will be able to turn their car into the Israel Government and received compensation of 3000 Shekels.

The roll out of the national scheme follows a successful two year trial, during which time 18000 vehicles more than 20 years told were returned to the State.

The aim of the project is to reduce heavily polluting vehicles in Israel.

To receive the 3000 Shekels

- Vehicles must be more than 20 years old, from the date of manufacture.
- Have a valid passenger vehicle licence.
- Returned to the State by the Registered Owner

Owners wishing to receive compensation must return a cancellation of registration form to the Licensing Agency and within 48 hours deliver their car to an authorised sites.  Following a 45 day identification process the owner will have the 3000 shekels compensated to their account.

Site NameWeb sitePhoneFaxAddress
AA Carr Center MotorsCarr Center Motors Ashdod08-852423808-8524236Street corner work fig 1, Light Industry Zone, Ashdod - Map

Site Name PhoneFaxAddress
Hyper passed Ltd.03-934202303-9342022Nachshon 17 purple industrial zone, Petah Tikva
Taysir Markets Ltd. Company02-624754802-6247561Airport St. 6. Atarot industrial area of Jerusalem
Haifa dragged Assouline Ltd04-8424279
04-8411-033Yosef Basri 30 Kiryat Ata
Mksli Ltd.04-6800777
04-6931884Industrial area Hazor

Further details can be found on the Israel Transport Ministry website.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Could Segregated buses make a return in Israel, Eldan to start leasing Better Place Electric Cars in Israel in 2012, Tel Aviv's Rental Bike Service is Succeeding

Could Segregated buses make a return in Israel?

Israel has this week seen a conflict re-emerge over the issue of female segregation on buses.  The sexist policy requiring women to sit at the back of buses on certain routes in Israel was banned earlier this year.

In order to ensure that this law was enforced, campaigns have been carried out to ensure that women can choose to sit where they like on the bus.  However, the Haredi Community have hit back demanding the right to operate private bus lines where segregation would be enforced.

Eldan to start leasing Better Place Electric Cars in Israel in 2012

Better Place have signed an agreement with Eldan, Israel's largest rental car company to provide hundreds of Renault Fluence electric cars for the car rental market in Israel.  Better Place will also install the car charging operators for Eldan to widen the electric car infrastructure across Israel.

Tel Aviv's Rental Bike Service is Succeeding

Seven months after the launch of the Tel Aviv Bike Rental Scheme, over 13000 people have purchased an annual subscription, with about 5500 bikes being rented every day from the 141 rental stations across Tel Aviv.

It was announced this week that daily and weekly subscriptions would now be offered for casual users of the service.

A daily rental of a bike would be 16 Shekels and a weekly rental would cost 60 Shekels.  It will be possible to pay at the rental station by credit card.

An annual subscription is 240 Shekels for residents of Tel Aviv and 280 Shekels for non-residents.  An annual subscription can only be purchased at the Tel Aviv Muncipality or on the Tel-O-Fun website.

It is also expected that 50 further rental stations will open in the Tel Aviv suburbs.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Israel to hold a Road Pricing Experiment

The Transport Ministry and Finance Ministry in Israel yesterday announced that they will hold an experiment to examine the impact of road pricing on drivers.

A tender to find the company responsible for holding the road pricing experiment will be conducted by Derech Eretz.

The experiment will see 1200 drivers  volunteer to have their driving habits monitored, including the time and distance travelled, when journeys take place and where.  Each driver will be given $500 per year for participation to participate and will be charged for the journeys based on when, where and how far they travel.  The aim of the experiment is to see whether the cost of a journey impacts on a driver's behaviour on where and when to drive. 

The experiment could possibly lead to road charging schemes in order to reduce congestion levels in Israel.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Public Transport to be hit by General Strike in Israel on Monday and A BBC report on the Jerusalem Light Rail

A BBC report on the Jerusalem Light Rail

The BBC has a positive report on the Jerusalem Light Rail and how it benefits the whole population of Jerusalem  both Israeli's and Arabs.

Public Transport to be hit by General Strike in Israel on Monday

The General Strike by the National Union tomorrow in Israel could affect all public transport in Israel.  The strike is being held to campaign for better rights for contract workers in Israel.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Rav Kav Smart Card have replaced bus tickets

As previously reported by israeltransport.blogspot.com Egged buses in Israel this week officially replaced the former multi travel 'Kartisiya' and monthly 'Hofshi Hodshi' paper tickets with their new Rav Kav Smart Cards.

As of this week all bus journeys will have to be paid for as a single ticket or using the Rav Kav Smart Card for either multiple journeys or season tickets. Although existing multi travel 'Kartisiya' tickets will be accepted until the end of 2011.

The Rav Kav Smart Card can be received for free at the following places:

- Jerusalem Central Bus Station (opposite platform 22) Sunday to Thursday 7am to 10pm and Friday 7am to 1pm.
- Jerusalem Rav Shefa Mall 2nd Floor , Sunday to Thursday 2pm to 9pm
- Givat Masua Egged Terminal, Sunday to Thursday 7am to 7pm and Friday 7pm to 1pm
-CityPass Light Rail Service Stations

Rav Kav Cards can also be received from:

South & Center
Tel Aviv CBS - Ticket Office (6th floor)Sun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Kfar Saba CBS - Ticket OfficeSun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Sun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Holon,  Dar Gat MallSun - Thu 08:00- 17:00 | Fri 08:00 - 13:00
Sun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Sun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Rehovot CBSSun - Thu 08:00- 17:00 | Fri 08:00 - 13:00
Haifa & South
Haifa Merkazit Hof ha-KarmelSun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Haifa Merkazit ha-MifratzSun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Haifa, 8 Hasan Shuqri Str Sun - Thu 08:00- 17:00 | Fri 08:00 - 13:00
Haifa, The University of HaifaSun - Thu 08:00- 16:00
Karmi'el TerminalSun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Kiryat Hayim - "Ha-Tzrif" JunctionSun - Thu 07:00- 19:00 | Fri 07:00 - 13:00
Kiryat Shmona CBSSun - Thu 08:00- 17:00 | Fri 08:00 - 13:00
Kiryat Shmona, Tel Khai College Sun - Thu 08:00- 16:00 

Once received multi-use tickets and season tickets can be charged to the Rav Kav Smart Card by bus drivers.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Jerusalem to Tel Aviv Railway - Construction Continues

The Transport Ministry in Israel has provided an updated on the progress being made on the development of Jerusalem's future Inter-City Train Station.  As the work continues an 80 meter underground shaft has been dug.

In addition work will  begin in 2 months on the construction of an 11.5 km underground tunnel after two international mining machines have arrived in Israel.

Video explanation of the building of the tunnels in Jerusalem for the new Jerusalem to Tel Aviv Railway - Israel National News

The new intercity railway which will see 30 minute train journeys between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem has been a priority of the Transport Minister, Israel Katz.

The railway line which will be 56 miles in will include 5 tunnels and 10 bridges, will cost $7 billion to construct and is expected to be completed by 2017.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Car Drivers are Reminded to turn on their lights

Car drivers in Israel are reminded to use their external lights at all times of the day when travelling on intercity roads during the winter months until 31 March 2011.

The fine for driving without lights on is 100 dollars plus two penalty points.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Timetable Changes on Israel's Railways in November and Jerusalem Light Rail - A review

Timetable Changes on Israel's Railways in November

Israel Railways have announced the following cancellations to routes during November.

The Akko to Nahariyya Line will be closed between 1 November and 18 November and replaced with a free bus shuttle.

On Friday 4 November there will be no service between Haifa and Nahariyya with regular bus services being available instead.

Between 7 November and 20 December there will be no services between Rishon Le Zion and Lod to be replaced by a shuttle bus.

Jerusalem Light Rail - A review
Oren Hirsch the creator of the unofficial Jerusalem Bus Map has published an optimistic review of the initial months of the Jerusalem Light Rail.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

El AL to charge $70 for second suitcase, Airport Crash Averted at Ben Gurion Airport, A view on the Jerusalem Light Rail

El AL to charge $70 for second suitcase 

El Al have announced have announced that from 1 November 2011 they will started charging $70 for the second suitcase checked in for economy seat/coach passengers on flights to and from Israel.

Airport Crash Averted at Ben Gurion Airport
Air Traffic controllers at Ben Gurion Airport narrolwy avoided a crash on Monday betwen an Israir plane and and Ukrainian aircraft.  Both pilots thought they had been given permission to head to the runway to begin take-off at the same time, before airline controllers realised the mistake an ensured an orderly take-off.

Flight safety issuers have previously been a concern at Ben Gurion Airport and the airport safety status for Ben Gurion Airport was downgraded last year.

A view on the Jerusalem Light Rail

The Jerusalem Post today has a column on the new light rail and how it is working well.  What do you think?

Monday, 3 October 2011

Tender opens to provide bus services in Modiin, Modiin Illit and Ramle

The Ministry of Transport in Israel has issued a new tender to operate public transport services in Modiin, Modiin Illit and Ramle.

Currently 340,000 passengers use the existing public transport services within and around Modiin each week and includes approximately 350 bus routes, which are currently provided by Superbus and Connex/Veolia.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Railway Workers in Israel again told to return to work, Jerusalem Central Bus Station Needs to Cut Pollution and Most Israeli's want public transport to work on Shabbat

Railway Workers in Israel again told to return to work

As the dispute between Israel Railways and the Railway Workers Union continued in Israel in the lead-up to Rosh Hashana, the Labour Court again ordered workers to return to work and to continue negotiations during October.

Jerusalem Central Bus Station Needs to Cut Pollution

The Environmental Ministry has ordered the Jerusalem Central Bus Station to install a barrier between the bus platform and the building's interior, after finding the air in the bus station is extremely polluted, according to the Jerusalem Post.  This follows tests which have shown the air in the station to be four or five times more polluted than the acceptable level.

The high level of pollution results from the lack of ventilation around the bus platforms in Jerusalem's Central Bus Station.

Most Israeli's want public transport to work on Shabbat

According to a new "religion and State index" poll, ahead of the Jewish New Year, carried out by the Smith Institute 63% of the Jewish population in Israel supports the operation of public transportation on Shabbat.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Israel Railway Workers ordered back to work, Rapid Bus Transit System proposed for the Sharon Region, Israel to learn from China to improve Transportation, Work begins on the Tel Aviv Light Railway

Israel Railway Workers ordered back to work

Following Thursday's strike by railway workers in Israel over concerns of the privatisation of Israel Railways, the Labour Court ordered workers to return to work on Friday afternoon.  The Court required both the workers Union and Israel Railways to return to negotiations aspreviously mandated.

At Wednesday's meeting between Israel Railways and the Union, railway workers were offered an extensive assurances following any privatisation, with it proposed that maintenance would continue to be conducted by Israel Railway workers for the next 20 years according to Haaretz.

Rapid Bus Transit System proposed for the Sharon Region
Globes are reporting that Ayalon Highways are planning to publish a tender by the end of 2011 for a Rapid Bus Transit System in the Sharon Region of Israel to begin operating by February 2015.
A Rapid Bus Transit System is a quicker and more efficient bus network, achieved through improving existing road infrastructure, buses and schedules.
The first tender worth 1 billion Shekels s for the infrastructure work alongside and beneath existing roads, along which the new bus network will run.  There will also be further tenders to procure large-capacity buses and build bus stops.
The Sharon Region Rapid Bus Transit system will comprise three major bus lines with bus lanes as currently exists in Jerusalem.
Line 1 will run from Greater Tel Aviv and include Kfar Saba, Raanana and Herzliya.
Lines 2 will run via the Moreshet Interchange on Road 4 between Kfar Saba and Tel Aviv.
Line 3 will run along Road 2 from Tel Aviv to Raanana and Herzliya.
Each bus will be able to carry 200 passengers and will have a frequency between 3 minutes and 5 minutes.
The network will see the introduction of bus lanes along all routes as currently exists in Jerusalem.

Israel to learn from China to improve Transportation
Israel Katz, Transport Minister in Israel has this week reached an agreement with the Chinese Transport Minister Li Shenglin to share their ideas on transport infrastructure, according to China's People's Daily.  Israel Katz would like to see how Israel could adpot similar ideas to the High Speed Rail Network and light rail systems already working well in China.

Work begins on the Tel Aviv Light Railway
Following years of planning physical work this week began on the Tel Aviv Light Railway.  The Tel Aviv Light Railway is scheduled to start operating in 2017.  The intensive infrastructure work which will cause most disruption is scheduled to take place between 2013 and 2015 when the tunnels and stations are built.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Green Transportation Week in Israel, EL AL sign agreement with WestJet

Green Transportation Week in Israel

As part of the Green Transportation week in Israel the Jerusalem Post is reporting that 400 bikers and rollerbladers will converge in Tel Aviv this evening.  The event being organised by the Israel Bike Association begins at 9pm at the Cinematheque Plaza and will follow a 25km route.

The bikers association are using this week as a launch-pad to make cycling in Israel safer and more convenient.  For example the association are working with Israel Railways to provide bike hooks and holsters for bikes to be stored on trains.

EL AL sign agreement with WestJet

El Al last week signed an agreement with Canadian WestJet airline so that passengers flying on El AL from Israel to Toronto Airport will now be able to purchase connecting flight tickets on WestJet to 30 Canadian airports, Florida and the Caribbean.  El Al's Matmid Frequent Flyers will receive an additional 20% in points for join El AL - WestJet flights booked fro November 2011.

El AL already has similar agreements with JetBlue, American Airlines and Virgin America.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Railway Workers in Israel could Strike on Wednesday and New Eye Test for Drivers

Railway Workers in Israel could Strike on Wednesday

Following the announcement last week by the Railways Workers Union in Israel that they may strike over the privatisation of Israel Railways, the Labour Court yesterday granted the Union permission to strike, but has required the Union and Israel Railways to conduct negotiations.

The next meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday after which the Union will decide whether to continue with the negotiations or begin a strike.

New Eye  Test for Drivers

Following the introduction of a new regulation in Israel,  from the beginning of 2012 citizens who are aged 40 or above will now be required to have a vision test every 10 years to maintain their driving licence.

The Ministry of Transport has therefore started sending out letters to drivers whose driving licences are due for renewal in 2012 and are aged 40 or over, to require them to have the new vision test before their licence can be renewed.  The new regulation was introduced following a study by the Gertner Institute for Medical Policy which found that drivers with impaired vision, may affect their ability to drive and endanger themselves and others.

The new regulation will also require drivers aged 70 and above to have an eye examination every 5 years.  Drivers aged 80 and above will require an eye test every 2 years.

Friday, 16 September 2011

El Al banning liquids on flights to the USA and Railway Workers in Israel to Strike

El Al banning liquids on flights to the USA 

El Al has announced that from Monday 19th September 2011, passenger's on it's flights to the USA will no longer be able to carry liquids in bottles larger than 100ml on their flights, following a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Railway Workers in Israel to Strike

The Railway Workers Union in Israel have announced that they will strike over the Government's proposed privatisation of Israel Railways according to Globes.  The strike dates are yet to be announced.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Prices for new Rishon LeZion to Tel Aviv Railway, Israel and the Czech Republic sign aviation agreement

Prices for new Rishon LeZion to Tel Aviv Railway

With the launch of the the Tel Aviv to southern Rishon LeZion railway this month, the prices (still to be approved by the Transport Ministry) are set to be 15 Shekels, according to Globes, the same price as between Tel Aviv and the existing Rishon LeZion station.  The cost of a bus journey is 6.40 Shekels between Tel Aviv and Rishon LeZion.

Israel and the Czech Republic sign aviation agreement

Israel and the Czech Republic have signed an aviation agreement to increase the number of passenger flights between the two countries from 12 to 36 flights.

Globes - What is the matter with Israeli Transport

Following the recent protests in Israel over socio-economic issues Globes have an interesting piece about the problems with transport in Israel.

Lack of gov't continuity blights transport planning

In the 15 years since the Jerusalem light rail was approved, there have been ten ministers of transport.

33 minutes at 8 am. This is the amount of time it takes, according to Ayalon Highways Ltd., to pass through Israel's most congested stretch of road - the 12-kilometer along Road 20 (the Ayalon Highway) from southern entrance into Tel Aviv from Road 1 (the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway).
This lost time carries a heavy economic price: the study estimates the loss at 12 workdays per traveler. The situation has improved slightly since this study was published, following the open of the fast lane along Road 1, but no relief in congestion can be expected at the other entrances to the city. 10 workdays are lost entering Tel Aviv from Road 5 via Glilot Interchange, and from the Road 20 entrance from Rishon LeZion and Road 2 (the Coastal Highway) from Herzliya. The average speed on the main roads in the Dan region (metropolitan Tel Aviv) during morning traffic does not surpass 40 km - the speed one rides a bicycle.
Public transportation in the Dan region is incapable of providing a suitable alternative to private cars. Metropolitan Tel Aviv has no subway, and construction on the light rail has just begun. The reform in bus routes is far from a success, and the suburban train provides only a partial solution. The train does not reach a large number of areas, and in some areas the frequency is low resulting from a lack of trains and from bottlenecks on tracks along Road 20.
Outside of the Dan region, the situation is even worse: until the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem high-speed rail line is completed, at some point towards the end of the decade, the only option available to those traveling to Jerusalem is the Turkish line that was built in 1892. Congestion on Road 1 will continue to worsen in the coming years, due to construction to widen the road between Sha'ar Hagai and the entrance to Jerusalem. The only road between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that will remain relatively open is Road 443, with its abundance of roadblocks, because the road runs through the West Bank.
The general feeling that public transportation in Israel lags far behind its counterparts other advanced countries is backed by statistics: the rate roads are paved lags far behind the growth in the number of private cars. Israel is located at the bottom of OECD countries in meters of road per thousand residents. The corresponding statistic for trains puts Israel much lower than other small, densely populated countries like the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
The feeling that traffic is getting worse is also based on solid evidence. Since 1970, the number of private cars in Israel has grown by 1,100%, while the length of paved roads has only grown by 95%. The forecasts are not optimistic: by 2020 the number of private cars is expected to grow by another 30%, from 2.3 million to 3 million, according to the chief scientist at the Ministry of Transport.
Government instability
Who is responsible for the situation? Surprisingly, the lack of a budget is not the cause for the failure to develop transportation infrastructure. The government is not begrudged budgets for transportation, as it apparently does in other areas like health, education, and welfare. The transportation budget grew 84% between 2000 and 2008. Between 2005 and 2015, the government is due to allocate more than NIS 100 billion for the development of transportation infrastructure: NIS 21 billion was allocated to the Israel National Roads Company Ltd. in 2006-11, and another NIS 27 billion has been budgeted for the next five years. In 2004, Israel Railways initiated a NIS 30 billion multi-year plan to develop a network of tracks and trains, and an additional NIS 27.5 billion for roads and trains have been approved to pay for Minister of Transport Israel Katz's Israel highway plan to facilitate travel from the periphery to the center of Israel.
The numbers look very impressive on paper, but there is a dramatic gap between planning and execution. The actual amount invested in infrastructure has actually been falling over the last few years, according to a BDO Ziv Haft study for the Association of Contractors and Builders in Israel. The gross rate of investment fell to 2.18% of GDP in 2010 from 2.6% in 2009. The average rate of investment in the early 2000s was 3.5%.
Most of the blame for hindering the development of infrastructure is due to government instability, at least according to government and public policy researchers like Golan Lahat. In an article that he recently published for the Citizens Empowerment Center in Israel, Lahat claims that the lack of governance adversely affects ministries' ability to function, and deepens the public's frustration.
Instead of developing and implementing long-term plans, ministries waste their time and resources putting out fires. One of the reasons for this is the high turnover of governments and transport ministers. Lahat cites the Jerusalem light rail as an example. In the 15 years that have passed since the route was approved in 1996, the government has changed six times, and there have been no fewer than ten transport ministers.
Lahat attributes the project's delays, and the disputes that have erupted between the government, the Jerusalem Municipality and franchisee CityPass, to the turnover of ministers, each of whom brought with him a change in policy and replacements in key positions. Israel's governance problem is also expressed itself in a different way.
The Finance Ministry's power
Lahat says that the second main culprit for the problem of governance in infrastructure is the Ministry of Finance. The first problem is over centralization in project management. Ministry of Finance officials intervene in every small decision, and preventing the flexibility needed to manage complex projects. "It is hard not to notice the difficulties resulting from the Ministry of Finance and its officials' political power," Lahat said.
Lahat also blames the Ministry of Finance for the decline in the quantity and quality of professional personnel at the Ministry of Transport, as well as in government companies. "The Ministry of Finance has been widening the already large gap in salaries for years, and the Ministry of Transport has been affected by a growing lack of civil engineers," he says. Low salaries are not the only problem hurting skilled manpower. The requirement to use tenders has turned the process of appointing senior personnel into a nightmare for applicants. An outstanding is the drama that developed following the appointment of a CEO for the light rail last year that turned into a scandal.
Lahat suggests giving the Ministry of Transport more authority and responsibility as one way to improve the situation, as well as giving it more flexibility in managing project budgets, deciding differential salary arrangements, and imposing personal responsibility on the minister and the director general in cases of professional failures, including non-implementation of work plans. He also suggests building more projects through joint public private partnerships (PPP), as was done for Road 6 (Cross-Israel Highway) and the Carmel tunnels. PPP was not used for the Jerusalem light rail.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Competitive Tender Bid Process Launched for the building of Netivot Train Station in Israel

The Transport Ministry In Israel has this week launched a competitive tender process for the building of the new Netivot Railway Station between Ashkelon and Bersheba in Israel.  This railway line is currently being built to improve transportation in the south of Israel with the centre.  The full requirements have been set out here.  The deadline for bids is 31 October 2011.

The requirements are that any proposals to build the new station include a modern railway station, with a platform length of 300 feet, passes underground.  The railway line will see journey times between Ashkelon and Bersheba of 50 minutes, with four trains an hour each way.  It is expected that the cost of the construction of the station will be 45 million Shekels.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Gasoline Prices to rise in Israel on Thursday

Gasoline prices are due to rise in Israel this Thursday at the beginning of September, because of a 20 agurot a litre increase in gasoline tax.  This rise was delayed a month from August as a result of the social demonstrations in Israel.  The Government says this tax rise is needed to cover the costs of its projects.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Investigation into the cost of cars in Israel and Taxi Drivers Protest against fuel costs in Israel

Investigation into the cost of cars in Israel

Israel's Transport Minister Israel Katz, has announced a new committee to examine the level of competition in the car industry.  As part of the Israeli Government's attempt to show it is listening to the social demonstrations against the high cost of living in Israel, the Transport Minister has said that the committee will look at the cost of purchasing a car in Israel, as well as the cost of spare parts, leasing cars and whether warranties are honored by car dealerships.  The commitee will be chaired by Yaron Zelekha.

Taxi Drivers Protest against fuel costs

Taxi drivers last week joined the demonstrations on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv to protest against high petrol costs, caused by the high taxes.

Although the Government has reduced the price of fuel in Israel, the level of tax on fuel was not reduced, from the 40% level it currently is, which differentially affects professional drivers.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Jerusalem Light Rail started on Friday with 40,000 passengers

Friday saw the start of passenger services on the Jerusalem Light Rail, which has taken more than a decade to complete the first line at a cost of more than 4 billion Shekels.

On the first day of service 40,000 people used the service, with an expected 100,000 passengers a day on weekdays.

The train rides are being offered free of charge for the first few weeks of operation but will than cost 6.40  a ride, the same as a bus journey in Jerusalem.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

New Egged Bus Route between Petach Tikva and Herzliyah

Egged has this month launched a new bus route the 553 bus between Petach Tikva Central Station and Herzliya Arena Mall Station via the Geha Intersection and the Herzliya Industrial Zone.  The fare will be 10 shekels with the overall journey time expected to be 1 hour

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Jerusalem Light Rail start date confirmed for this Friday 19 August and it will be free!

Following the concern earlier this week over a last minute delay requested by the Transport Ministry it has been confirmed that the Jerusalem Light Rail in Israel will start taking passengers this Friday morning.  The first trams will roll out at 5:30am and run every 10 to 15 minutes.  A map of the route can be viewed here.

In a surprise announcement CityPass announced that following an agreement with the Transport Ministry, passengers will be able to travel on the light rail for free for the first few months, the Jerusalem Post has reported.

Once charging on the light rail begins passengers will be able to use their Rav-Kav cards on both buses and the trams in Jerusalem, with one price for travel on all vehicles within 1 hour and 15 minutes of first boarding a public transport vehicle.

UPDATE 18/8/11- The Jerusalem Municipality has today confirmed this story, with the following announcement.

"The Jerusalem Municipality is happy to announce that this Friday, 19/08/11, The Light Rail will operate to the city's residents and to take on passengers. Starting from Friday, 14 trains will run along the 23 stations, Mount Herzl, through downtown to Givat Zeev. It is also important to emphasize at this stage of the pilot period, municipal bus lines will continue to run as usual.
For the first two weeks of train operations, it was decided that the trip will be free for the welfare and comfort of all residents.

Each train consists of two cars, that can accommodate 450 seated and standing passengers. The train will operate every weekday from 5:30 am to midnight, and Friday 5:30 to 15:00.

Run parallel to the start  of the railway is the continuing the process of approval of the smart traffic lights throughout the city, designed to give priority to train at intersections, and thereby shorten the travel time even more. At the end of the run, with full commercial operation of the train, travel time is expected to end on 42 minutes.

Mayor Nir Barkat, said that''this is a happy day for Jerusalem and its residents. Despite the difficulties of the birth, the transportation system in Jerusalem in the coming months will gradually become a leader in progressive and welfare of residents and visitors.''

Monday, 15 August 2011

Jerusalem Light Rail - Could there be a further delay?

Following the announcement by CityPass that the Jerusalem Light Rail will begin this Friday, it is possible that the start of passenger services could be further delayed.

This follows yesterday's session by the Knesset Economics Committee which delayed the implementation of a law that regulates light rail systems.  It was expected that this law would have to be implemented before the light rail could start taking passengers.  This delay was at the request of the Transportation Ministry to allow for a further month of testing to the ticketing mechanism. 

In addition the light rail is still missing a major safety permit called the Independent Safety Assessment, which is awarded by an international body. The train cannot carry passengers without the permit.

However, CityPass have denied that the delayed law would have any affect on operations.