Israel's Ministry of Transport has published tenders for operating dozens of shared taxi routes in different areas: Holon-Bat Yam, Petah Tikva, Ramle-Lod, Rehovot, Netanya, Beer Sheva, and the Northern Negev. Rav-kav public transportation cards can be used for these shared taxis on Sunday through Friday, and students and senior citizens will receive the same discounts on them that they receive for public transportation. The routes will also operate on the Sabbath, but without a government subsidy (administered through Rav-kav cards).
The tenders will introduce shared taxis to the Holon-Bat Yam area for the first time. There will be six new shared taxi routes in this area that will improve access to the Holon, Bat Yam, and western Rishon Lezion industrial zones; Tel Aviv Sourasky and Wolfson Medical Centers; the Yoseftal, Wolfson, Tel Aviv Savidor Central, and Tel Hashalom railway stations; the Holon Institute of Technology and the Rishon Lezion College of Management Academic Studies; and Peres Park, Cinema City, shopping malls and centers, the Bat Yam promenade, and the Bat Yam beach.
Nine shared taxi routes will be operated in the Petah Tikva area. The new routes will connect Petah Tikva with Bar Ilan University, Sheba Medical Center, and shopping centers. Three new shared taxi routes will connect Rosh HaAyin to the Segula and Atidim industrial zones, the Rosh HaAyin railway station, and the Avnet shopping mall in Petah Tikva. Another new route will operate between Kfar Kassem and the Lev Haaretz industrial zone.
A tender was also published on Monday for seven routes in Rehovot, including two new routes: a direct route to Tel Aviv via Highway 431 and an internal route from neighborhoods in eastern Rehovot to the Rehovot railway station.
Tenders were published for seven routes in the Ramle-Lod area to 145,000 residents to improve access from there to Tel Aviv, Petah Tikva, Rehovot, and Rishon Lezion: five existing routes and two new routes. The new routes are intracity routes in Ramle and Lod. These routes will improve access to the Tzrifin and Ramle industrial zones, Assaf Harofe Medical Center, the Ramle and Lod railway stations, shopping centers, and the new Tel Aviv central bus station.
Seven lines will operate in the Beer Sheva and northern Negev area, including four new lines. These routes will improve access between cities in southern Israel, including Beer Sheva, Dimona, Kiryat Gat, Ofakim, Netivot, Sderot, and Ashkelon. A municipal tax service will operate in Beer Sheva for the first time in order to improve access from the city's neighborhoods to the industrial zones, the old city, shopping centers, and the central bus station.
Tenders were also published for 13 shared taxi routes in three areas in Netanya: municipal, regional, and interurban. The new routes will improve access to industrial zones in northern and southern Netanya and in western Herzliya; Netanya Academic College, Laniado and Meir Medical Centers, and the railways stations in Netanya and Beit Yehoshua, as well as to the Netanya city center and the Tel Aviv central bus station.
Shared taxi services have stagnated for years while the Ministry of Transport developed railway and bus service. Due a lack of state subsidies, only one third of the licenses to operate shared taxis were used; the rest were unprofitable. Now that the operating licenses for many routes have expired, there is an opportunity to grant new licenses providing better and more extensive service. 100 shared taxi routes will be operated, double the number of currently active routes, in 23 areas. The tenders published today are the second stage of the reform, after tenders to operate shared taxi routes in the Tel Aviv area were published last June.
The third set of tenders is slated for publication in the coming month. It will include municipal and interurban routes in Jerusalem, Rishon Lezion, Ben Gurion Airport, Kiryat Ono, the Sharon area, Nazareth-Haifa, Tiberias, Akko-Nahariya, Ashdod-Ashkelon, Eilat, and other lines around Israel.
The Ministry of Transport has also published a tender for a new operator of the Metronit rapid transit bus system in Haifa.
In Haifa, public transportation operators will compete against current Metronit operator Dan North for the operation of the three existing routes and two new routes.
The current Metronit routes are 40 kilometers long, with 40 buses operating in exclusive traffic lanes. The tender will increase the number of buses on these routes by 25% and also add at least 50 electric buses. Enlarging the fleet will make it possible to increase bus frequency. One of the two new routes, a tunnels route, will travel via the Krayot region north of Haifa to the central Hof Hacarmel station through the Carmel Tunnels. It will begin operating in 18 months. The second new Metronit route, which will travel between Nesher to the Hadar neighborhood in Haifa, will begin operating within two years.
The frequency of buses on the second new route will be once every 7.5 minutes at peak times. The bus will travel on a seven-kilometer special public transportation lane. The project will include construction of a park and ride parking lot and a new public transportation terminal. It is expected to carry over one million passengers a year. The estimated cost is NIS 450 million.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on March 20, 2019
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