Israel Railways transported a record 31.5 million passengers in the first half of 2017, compared with 29.4 million in the corresponding period of 2016.
The average daily number of passengers was 239,000, 12% more than the 213,000 daily average in the first half of 2016. Demand for most of the railway lines, both new (such as the Jezreel Valley route and the Netanya South Sapir station) and existing, increased across the board. May 2017 set a new record, with an average of 299,000 passengers transported a day.
The most prominent route in the rising trend in demand were the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem route with a 26% increase, the Asheklon-Beer Sheva route (20%), and the Tel Aviv-Hod Hasharon route (8%).
Israel Railways finished the first half of 2017 with a NIS 45 million net profit, down 29%, compared with NIS 63.8 million in the first half of 2016. Revenue rose from NIS 1.085 billion in the first half of 2016 to NIS 1.205 billion in the first half of this year, a 7% increase.
The more than NIS 90 million increase in Israel Railways' expenses is explained mostly by a NIS 43 million rise in operating and maintenance expenses resulting from the company's growth and a NIS 40 million increase in salary expenses, following the revision of the company's labor agreements and recruitment of more workers.
According to Israel Railways' figures, this was the seventh consecutive half-year in which the company made a profit, with an ongoing rise in its number of transported passengers. Israel Railways said that the company had met over 94% of its timetables.
Israel Railways said that it was continuing to meeting its main targets in the major projects in its development plan, such as the high-speed Tel Aviv-Jerusalem train, electrification of the railway, procurement of carriages and locomotives, and preparation for a substantial increase in the number of railway passengers by the end of the decade.
In the first half of 2017, Israel Railways invested NIS 33 million in a project for upgrading 10 passenger railway stations and adding 3,200 new parking spaces in 14 parking lots as part of its preparation for the expected rise in the number of railway passengers.
Israeli Railways carried 4.6 million tons of cargo in January-June, 0.5% more than in the corresponding period last year. The quantity of cargo is directly affected by the closing of lines for infrastructure and upgrading work, for example last March. Israel Railways' revenue from transporting cargo includes operation fees totaling NIS 181 million, compared with NIS 183.6 million in the first half of 2016. The decline in revenue from cargo transportation is attributable to a 6% drop in operating fees under the operating agreement
Commenting on his company's results, Israel Railways CEO Shahar Ayalon said, "Israel Railways speeded up a number of important processes in the first half of 2017, including the project for converting trains to electrical power, which are expected to greatly affect the character of the company and its service. The aim is to double the number of trains and passengers by the end of the decade. In this framework, the railroad will carry many more passengers daily on many more trains on more diverse routes, for the first time on bridges, through tunnels, and on electrified trains. This process brings with it many opportunities, such as a railway connection to new places and environmentally friendly transportation. It will be an engine for growth and job.
"We have the great privilege of taking rail transportation into the next era, and Israel Railways is already building its railway vision for 2040."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on August 31, 2017
© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017