A New Company Has Been Selected to Operate the Capital’s Light Rail System
The company that will operate the light rail in Jerusalem will expand the Red Line (13.8 km.) and is expected to operate the Green Line, currently under construction and expected to start operating in 2025
The new company, TransJerusalem J-Net Ltd., was selected (on Wednesday, August 7, 2019) by a joint Finance Ministry, Transport Ministry, Jerusalem Municipality tender, with the participation of a team of Transportation Master Plan personnel. The company, which was established by the Shafir Engineering Group specifically for operating the light rail, includes Superbus and Spanish partner CAF. The group beat out Shikun & Binui, Egged and Chinese company CRRC.
This is one of the largest transport projects currently under construction in Europe and the Middle East, and is a mass transit system expected to transport about half a million passengers every day. The project includes the construction of 27 kilometers of new rails, the construction of 50 new stops, planning and production of over 100 cars, the construction of a central depot complex including a parking facility and garage for cars and a command and control center, park and ride parking lots and grade separation at major junctions.
Jerusalem’s light rail network – the JNET network – includes the Red Line, which will be extended in the north of the city to provide service to the Neve Ya’akov neighborhood, and in the south, to serve passengers traveling to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. The network also includes the new line, going from the Hebrew University on Mount Scopus to the Malcha and Gilo neighborhoods, with branches going to the Hebrew University at Givat Ram and Givat Shaul. The network is expected to have a total length of over 40 kilometers which will pass through the in-demand areas in Jerusalem.
The project will be implemented using the PPP – Public Private Partnership system, and will be the largest project of its kind in Israel to date. As part of the project, the operator will run and maintain the existing Red Line, while at the same time financing, constructing, operating and maintaining the Red Line extensions and the new line. The operator will run the network for a period of 15 years, with an option for 10 additional years, and will maintain the network for 25 years. TransJerusalem J-Net Ltd. is expected to commence work during the current year, and operation of the network will be gradually phased in starting at the end of 2022 and until its full operation in 2025.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion: “The light rail is expanding. This is historic news for the city of Jerusalem. I am delighted and excited with the selection of the operator for the continued construction and operation of the city’s light rail. Mass transit systems are the solution for traffic congestion, and will enable the public to ride quickly, efficiently and safely throughout the city. This is in addition to the significant reduction in air pollution and great accessibility to all points in the city. The Jerusalem Municipality will undertake to speed up the work and introduce additional light rail lines as quickly as possible, for the benefit of residents. I would like to thank the Finance Ministry and the Transport Ministry for their support and work on this reality-changing project.”
Zohar Zoeller, Director of Transportation Master Plan: “The Transportation Master Plan welcomes the selection of the new JNET network operator, selected through an international tender led by the Ministry of Finance. The new operator was selected in a tender process accompanied by the Transportation Master Plan, while complying with all schedules and learning the lessons from the first line for the benefit of improving the project. In so doing, Jerusalem is marching towards a great transportation boom, and in the near future a network of five operational lines will carry about half a million passengers a day, changing the face of the city and the entire metropolitan area.”
Bezalel Smutrich, Minister of Transport and Road Safety: “This is another important milestone in the establishment of a light rail network that will connect the hundreds of thousands of residents of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas easily and conveniently. The great success of the Jerusalem light rail has led the Transport Ministry to work with its partners to extend the rail line to all areas of the city, from Neve Ya’akov, Mount Scopus and Ramot in the north to Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, Gilo and Malcha in the south. The transportation revolution in Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital, is underway, both in the ways leading to the city and within the city. The light rail network currently being constructed in Jerusalem will make the city’s transportation system Israel’s quickest and most convenient.”
Accountant General Roni Hizkiyahu: “Choosing the new operator of the JNET project is a key milestone in advancing Jerusalem’s transportation infrastructure. This project is an important part of the 2030 Plan, under which infrastructure projects in a variety of areas such as energy, desalination and waste are expected to be implemented, as well as additional transport projects such as the Tel Aviv light rail system and the Gush Dan Metro project. Completion of the tender process within such a short timeframe demonstrates that the government ministries are working at full strength to take Israel’s infrastructures to the levels of developed countries as soon as possible.”