Minister of Transport and Road Safety Yisrael Katz (Likud) told the Knesset State Control Committee on Monday that the the high-speed rail from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim will commence operations by Erev Sukkos, Globes reported.
The line had originally been scheduled to open to the public before Pesach, but after engineers and safety experts said that it would be extremely unsafe to do so without a period of testing critical systems, the opening was delayed.
In his statement to the committee on Monday, Katz said: “The high-speed railway line to Yerushalayim will begin commercial operation on the eve of Sukkot. Rides will be free during Chol HaMoed.
“The plan was to begin partial operation of the line before Pesach [according to] safety plan set by Israel Railways, but following discussions with the firefighters and the police, it was decided to act with great caution and delay the opening until Sukkot. It may have been possible to begin partial operation according to the original timetable, but instead of conducting a struggle that would have been popular, I decided to play it safe by delaying the opening.”
Ministry of Transport and Road Safety director general Karen Turner informed the committee of a new policy for Rav-Kav travel cards.
Starting next Thursday, a pilot progam will begin in Yerushalayim in which the cards will no longer be charged by bus drivers. Instead, the cards can be charged through an application, through the Internet, at 400 Casponet devices, using 90 CityPass charging stations. Businesses, schools and community centers will also be authorized to charge them.