Light rail in Tel Aviv will run less frequently and slower than planned

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 Light rail in Tel Aviv will run less frequently and slower than planned

Opening of the “Red Line” Tel Aviv's light rail service has been delayed for years, but Transportation Minister Miri Regev recently announced that it will start on Independence Day (April 26). However, a source familiar with the situation told the Globes that the light rail, which will carry 250,000 passengers a day through the Tel Aviv area, will compromise on quality of service and number of trains during the run-in period.

Less than two months before the start of the “Red Line” NTA refuses to provide details of how many trains will run per hour and how long the trip will take. But a person close to the matter told the Globes that on the first leg, on the busiest section of the line from Tel Aviv's Elifelet metro station, 10 trains per hour in each direction will run to Petah Tikva.

On the “Red Line” there will be three separate routes: R1 from Petah Tikva to Bat Yam (full line); R2 from Kiryat Arye to Bat Yam, which will not operate from the start of the line; and R3 from Kiryat Arye to Elifelet station. In other words, passengers wishing to travel from Kiryat Arya to Bat Yam will have to change trains.

On the R1 route between Petah Tikva and Bat Yam, 6 trains will run in each direction every hour, and on the R3 route from Kiryat Arye to the Elifelet station – 4 trains every hour, total 10 trains per hour. The average frequency of movement along the “Red Line” will be one train every six minutes in each direction. Although the NTA website states that the Red Line there will be a train every three minutes in each direction, for a total of 18-20 trains per hour.

It is believed that from a safety point of view the line will be completed on time, but the travel time will be much longer than planned. The end-to-end line is expected to take about 90 minutes instead of an hour.

It is estimated that the main demand is not for trips from one end of the line to the other, but along the line towards the underground section in Tel Aviv – on this section the trip should take 22 minutes, and now it is approaching half an hour. However, this gap is expected to be reduced as this is a near-automated underground system.

The real challenge for the NTA now, after the missed deadlines, is to close as many service gaps as possible. Lead the “Red Line” will attract hundreds of thousands of Israelis to travel on it, making it difficult to provide proper service.

The NTA said, “The Red Line” is in an advanced stage of transition to Phase 7, and light rail service will finally begin. During this period, the NTA, together with the Ministry of Transportation, is conducting procedures to revise the overall operating plans, which also include the number of trains and frequency of movement. Prior to operation, NTA will conduct a wide public awareness campaign.

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