Tel Aviv Light Rail to Start Operating in April

Miri Regev, the Transportation Minister, announced that after numerous delays, the Red Line in Tel Aviv will finally begin its operations on Independence Day.

The announcement was made by the Minister of Transport at a press conference. Miri Regev said that the Tel Aviv light rail Red Line will start operating from April 26th, 2023.

The statement

Regev said that she had had a wide ranging discussion with the NTA and said that they had discovered issues that were not the only reason behind the delay.

She added that she hoped that the Red Line would become operational in April and if that does not happen, she has made it clear that they would not move forward with the agenda otherwise.

She said that if they do not start operating it by Independence Day, then she was going to take action. The Tel Aviv light rail Red Line had originally been scheduled to start operating in October 2021.

It runs from Jaffa, Bat Yam and Tel Aviv through Bnai Brak and Ramat Gan to Petah Tikva, but its launch had been postponed till November 2022.

There had been yet another delay in its operations until the first quarter of this year.

The delays

The company, which is supervising the Red Line’s opening had issued a warning that it may not begin its operations until June 2023.

However, its findings had not been accepted by the NTA and the Ministry of Transport had also refused to provide a date until now.

There had been defects in the signaling system, which had first resulted in the delay of the opening of the Red Line.

Last November, the State Comptroller had published a report in which a number of faults that the NTA had discovered had been highlighted.

These faults had resulted in delays, along with estimates that the Red Line would not begin operating on the due date promised because not enough time had been allocated for testing procedures.

These estimates eventually turned out to be accurate.

The alternative

It was reported that the Minister of Transport is considering the possibility of transferring the light rail project to another company from the NTA.

One option is Netivei Israel National Transport Infrastructure Co., which is headed by Yigal Amedi, who is known to be one of Regev’s close associate.

There had been a proposal in the draft law of arrangements that the light rail service from NTA be split and to bid on the construction of the planned metro system.

The draft Economic Arrangements Law had also put forward the proposal of allowing the NTA to continue with the construction of the planned Metro system, but to spin off the servicing of the light rail to someone else.

No move has been made in this regard as yet, but if these delays continue to happen, then it is likely that the Transportation Minister could explore such an option to speed up the project.

It is recognized as one of the biggest infrastructure project to have been launched in the country.

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