NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System has received the sought after safety approval to launch the Red Line on condition that the data provided in the safety check remain consistent for another week. If everything goes as planned, the light rail can commence operations on one of the Fridays during August.
The reason for the long delay because of the sudden operation of the emergency brakes is hardly happening now. The check is concentrating on the strength of the braking because too strong a jolt could cause standing passengers not holding onto anything to fall.
In the most recent test conducted on the train over the strength of the jolt created by emergency braking, it was examined whether the braking could cause injuries. NTA sent the findings to the German inspection company, and claimed that other light rail systems worldwide operated under conditions similar to those of the Red Line.
Only after this final approval by the inspection company, can the steering committee headed by the Ministry of Transport director general Moshe Ben- Zaken convene a joint meeting with representatives of the Ministries of Transport and Finance to set a date for the launch of the light rail. The opening date must take into account the need for an opening ceremony, which fits the schedules of senior figures, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, if he decides to participate.
24 kilometer line with 34 stations
The Red Line is planned to carry 234,000 passengers each day. The line will extend over 24 kilometers with 34 stations linking five cities: Petah Tikva, Bnei Brak, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv and Bat Yam. The opening of the line had been scheduled for October 2021 but was postponed until November 2022 and since then has been repeatedly postponed.
Even after opening many teething problems are expected. In the busiest central section of the line there will initially only be one train every six minutes instead of every three minutes. This highest frequency will only be achieved in one year if there are no special problems.
As a result of the relatively low frequency, heavy crowding is expected on carriages because about 600-700 passengers will travel on each train instead of the 440 passengers originally forecast. The crowding will also be felt at stations. In the underground stations, public services were only installed late and these will probably not be operating at the opening.
NTA said that the German inspection company (Piza) said there had been an improvement in the performance of the safety braking, and that the light rail can now be opened for commercial travel, provided that this positive trend will continue in the coming days. NTA added, "The data of the last few days are excellent, the incidents of braking has fallen dramatically, and the light rail is ready to open. After a successful tour by Minister of Transport and Road Safety Miri Regev this week on the light rail, and subject to the conditions of the German inspector, the Ministry of Transport intends to convene the steering committee to set the date for the opening of the light rail for commercial operations."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 27, 2023.
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