Minister of Transport Israel Katz, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and Egged Israel Transport Cooperative Society Ltd. chairman Gideon Mizrahi have launched the city's first bus rapid transit (BRT) as part of the public transportation reform. The reform includes electronic road signs and will later also include the light railway line.
The project's cost is estimated at NIS 530 million, of which the Ministry of Transport provided Egged with NIS 300 million for the purchase of 150 high-capacity BRTs. NIS 200 million was allocated for designated bus lanes.
Four of the six BRT lines will be inaugurated immediately. They will be joined by the light rail's Red Line, which runs from Pisgat Zeev in northern Jerusalem to the end of Herzl Boulevard at Yad Vashem in the west. The BRT lines will operate all day and cost the normal fare.
The 19-meter double articulated buses have double doors and can carry 140 passengers. They have low floors and comply with the Euro 5 emission standard. Egged is now bringing the first ten BRTs into service, and the number will increase to 30 within a month.
The 42 neighborhood bus routes will support the BRT with feeder lines to Armon Hanatziv, Gilo, and Har Homa in southern Jerusalem, Ramot, Ramat Shlomo in the north. The buses will operate every six minutes along the designated lanes during peak hours, in part by having priority at traffic lights, which will cut travel time by 30-40%.
The BRT will initially operate an eight-kilometer route between Hebron Road, via Keren Hayesod Street, King George V Street, Strauss Street, and Yehezkiel Street in the city center, to Shmuel Hanavi Street and Golda Meir Boulevard in northern Jerusalem. A two-way designated bus lane has been built along this route.
Bus stops will have electronic timetables showing the estimated arrival of the next bus. This system is still in the test stage.
Katz said that Jerusalem was the top Israeli city in terms of public transport use, with 40% of its residents using buses daily.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 19, 2010
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