Comptroller slams Israel's public transport failures

Israel Railways Photo: ASAP Creative Shutterstock

Joseph Shapira's report cites failures in Israel Railways, bus services, the Jerusalem light railway, and the Metronit bus rapid transit system in Haifa.

Israel State Comptroller Joseph Shapira is publishing a comprehensive and severely critical report today showing that traffic jams and road congestion are the result of a series of failures in planning, implementing, and supervising public transportation in Israel. For years, investment in public transportation in Israel was less than in road building. Even when the government realized that it was essential, progress took place very slowly.

The main points of the Shapira's report are as follows:

Poor tenders and a shortage of drivers: Why are buses inefficient? (see attached article).

44% of residents who do not receive public transportation services are Arabs.

Shortage of railway carriages, railway tracks, and parking spaces: Israel Railways is not meeting the demand (see attached article).

Standstill in metropolitan Tel Aviv: Travel on the roads is a third slower than in Western countries.

The Jerusalem light rail succeeded, but the passengers are suffering.

How the Ministry of Transport thwarted the cable railway and light railway to Nazareth.

A series of initiatives to tax vehicles were buried, one after another.

Failures in all means of public transportation were exposed: Israel Railways, bus services, the Jerusalem light railway, and the Metronit bus rapid transit system in Haifa. Failures were revealed everywhere in Israel, with an emphasis on the large metropolises and the Arab sector, which suffers from severe budget discrimination. The report explains why road density in Israel is 3.5 times the OECD average, and why we continue buying new cars, despite the high price. The most critical section in the report, however, does not concern the present, but the future. Israel continues to build neighborhoods and industrial zones that make it difficult to operate public transportation. This neglect means that future traffic jams will be even worse.

The state comptroller points a finger at many parties: the Ministry of Finance, government companies and local authorities, but above all the Ministry of Transport and Minister of Transport Yisrael Katz, who has been in his position for a decade. The report does not ignore the expansion of public transportation in recent years, but this is not enough to meet the demand and close the gaps created by years of neglect.

The Ministry of Transport gave a detailed response to the report. In its general remarks, the ministry states that it is "closing a gap of decades in transportation infrastructure investments in Israel, especially public transportation. Today, 60-70% of the ministry's budget is invested in these projects. Even a decade of unprecedented achievement cannot narrow gaps of over 100 years in comparison with the world's advanced countries."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 13, 2019

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2019

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Israel Railways Photo: ASAP Creative Shutterstock
Israel Railways Photo: ASAP Creative Shutterstock
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