Jerusalem light rail safety fault causes further delay

Full commercial operations of the 13.6 kilometer line are scheduled to begin on August 8.

Sources inform ''Globes'' that operation of the Jerusalem light rail will be delayed by several more weeks due to safety faults in the control system. The faults were found last week during a check by Germany's TUV AG, which is responsible for issuing the safety permit for operating the railway.

TUV refused to certify the light railway because the control system does not comply with current international safety standards. The railway franchisee, CityPass will reportedly need several weeks to correct the flaws.

The Jerusalem Municipality had announced that it will inaugurate the light railway on Passover Eve, April 17. The inauguration will be partial, for what the municipality calls a "trial run". Full commercial operation is scheduled to begin on August 8. The railway's launch has been postponed many times over the years.

During the trial run, the Jerusalem Municipality plans to operate the railway along a 2.5-kilometer stretch along Jaffa Road, the central section of the Red Line in the city center, between Zahal Square at the corner of the Old City to the Central Bus Station. The full length of the Red Line is 13.6 kilometers between Pisgat Zeev in the north and Kiryat Hayovel in the west.

The National Road Safety Authority has meanwhile launched a campaign to prepare Jerusalem's residents for the light railway's operation.

The Jerusalem Municipality's inauguration date relies on the arbitrators' decision on the dispute between the municipality and CityPass. The arbitrators - Adv. Dov Weissglass and Judge (emeritus) Boaz Okon - ruled that CityPass must be ready for partial operation of the light railway by April 7 as a condition for receiving part of the NIS 250 million grant promised it. The ruling is based on a recommendation by the arbitrators' special advisor.

In addition to the safety faults, other key operating issues for the light rail are still unresolved. There is still an argument between CityPass and Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd. on the sharing of revenue from train ticket sales, which means that there is still no decision on whether passengers can use a combined rail-bus ticket, or if they will have to purchase separate tickets.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 5, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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