The Tel Aviv Light Rail’s first line is expected to begin running by the end of the month, the Transport Ministry stated on Sunday, after years of delays.
The 24-km. The 15-mile Red Line, which runs from Petach Tikvah, east of Tel Aviv, to the seaside city of Bat Yam, just south of Tel Aviv, has received all necessary safety permits.
The almost NIS 19 billion ($5 billion) project, which had an initial start-up date of over two years ago, was frequently delayed by flaws, most notably in its signaling and emergency braking.
The 33-station line extends in both directions from Bat Yam to Petah Tikvah through Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, and Ramat Gan.
A tunnel beneath the road is used for around half of the journey.
“I am glad that there will soon be a first step to solving the congestion in [Metropolitan Tel Aviv] when the Red Line will run there,” said Transport Minister Miri Regev in a statement released from the Republic of Georgia, where she is on an official visit.
If there are no unique issues, Israeli citizens will soon enjoy the line. Two more light rail lines are being built, she continued.
Although the duration of the grace period is still up for debate, the Red Line’s debut is expected to feature a free-ride period.
Regev has seen several setbacks due to the city’s premier transportation initiative, known in Hebrew as Dankal, which has been delayed past its originally scheduled start date of late April without the line operating.
Since the train has been undergoing testing without passengers for months, and the spring national and Muslim holidays have added to the delays, Tel Aviv residents have grown frustrated as they frequently watch the train go by as they are snarled in the jam-packed city’s traffic.
While Prime Minister Golda Meir originally floated the notion of a metro line for Tel Aviv 50 years ago, the first rail line tender was launched over 20 years ago.
The first line of the Jerusalem Light Rail, commonly known as the Red Line, opened in 2011 after experiencing similar delays and has since established itself as a distinctive aspect of the capital city that is utilized by citizens who are Jewish, Muslim, and Christian, as well as visitors.
There will be several more lines.