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Jerusalem Light Rail To Run From Friday; Residents Will Initially Travel Free

The Jerusalem light rail will begin operations on Friday, August 19, the Ministry of Transport announced today. The opening comes after eight years of permits, earthworks, construction, and test runs. In the first phase, the light rail line will be free for Jerusalem residents, because of problems with the tickets. Franchisee CityPass believes that time is needed for the light rail to achieve optimal operations, so it will not charge fares.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem’s bus lines will continue to operate normally, until the light rail begins commercial operations in a few weeks. CityPass calls this initial period a “trial run”, after which it will continue installing smart traffic lights that give the train priority at intersections.

Until the smart traffic lights are installed, travel time on the route will be longer than usual, but it will be cut to 42 minutes within a few months. When all the traffic lights are installed the light rail will operate along a 13.8 kilometer track from Mount Herzl in the west through the city center to Pisgat Zeev in the north. There will be 23 stations.

Earlier this year, Jerusalem’s main thoroughfare, Jaffa Street, was closed to traffic as part of the preparations for the light rail. Buses were diverted to the parallel Agrippas Street, causing severe congestion.

(Source: Globes)

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