Traffic jam on Ayalon highway in Tel Aviv, December 2, 2021, (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90) (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Tel Aviv Traffic

After years of delays, long-awaited rail connecting cities in Israel’s populous Gush Dan region set to open August 18.

By Ben Rappaport, United with Israel

The long-awaited light rail of the Tel Aviv region is set to start running in mid-August, the Israeli Transportation Ministry announced on Friday.

The light rail’s first line, the 15-mile-long “Red Line,” is scheduled to open on August 18. With 34 stations, the line runs across five different local authorities in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area (Gush Dan), from Bat Yam, south of Tel Aviv, to Petah Tikvah, east of Tel Aviv.

The line is expected to carry some 234,000 passengers daily. Half of the route will be underground.

The project, at 18.7 billion shekels, has been Israel’s most expensive infrastructure project ever. It has repeatedly been set back by malfunctions, having originally been scheduled to open nearly two years ago.

Ahead of the launch of the Red Line, members of the Knesset State Contol Committee on Monday went for a tour on the rail.

“Following the discussion that was held in the committee, we wanted to assess the state of the light rail, with an emphasis on passenger safety, ahead of the launch of the Red Line,” Committee Chair MK Mickey Levy said during the tour.

“I got the impression that the train is ready for the challenges it faces, including those related to the advanced systems it operates,” Levy added.

Work is also currently underway for “Purple” and “Green” lines, set to open in 2027 and 2028 respectively. Work on the Tel Aviv “Metro” is also set to begin in coming years.

“I sincerely hope that upon the completion of the Purple and Green lines, which are expected to transport some 800,000 people daily, we will start to feel some relief in the gridlocked Gush Dan metropolis,” Levy said.

“Today I rode an advanced and impressive train that appears safe and comfortable, and I wish the millions of future passengers a pleasant journey,” he concluded.

Haim Glick, CEO of the NTA Metropolitan Mass Transit System Ltd., said “The Dankal (Tel Aviv Light Rail) is ready to transport millions of passengers in Gush Dan.”

“This is one of the most advanced rail systems in the world, as far as safety, comfort and reliability are concerned,” he continued.

“It is safe to say that the transportation revolution in Gush Dan will begin on August 18, and it will reach its peak with the completion of the Green and Purple light rail lines, as well as the three metro lines, which will free the Tel Aviv metropolitan area from the traffic jams and the pollution,” he concluded.



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