Israel Railways Tries Standing-Only Carriages to Ease Overcrowding

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel Railways has found a solution to overcrowding — rip out the seats.

Its new “suburban travel” pilot program features train cars that are standing room only, equipped with handles for safe standing and some folding seats, according to The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

The test cars, which can hold 20 percent more passengers than a carriage with regular seating, has its scheduled debut Sunday on the Binyamina-Rehovot line, a 30-minute ride.

“Alongside our primary task of mass transportation between major metropolitan areas in Israel, the train carries out a mass transportation mission from suburbs to city centers, a function usually carried out by a metro or light rail,” Israel Railways said in a statement.

“We hope that this move, along with other steps currently being taken such as reinforcing northern line frequency and providing information concerning crowding on trains on our website and application, will help reduce crowding on these lines.”
Before his departure in December, former chief executive Shahar Ayalon said that Israel Railways faces a shortage of approximately 150 train carriages to meet demand, but lacks the resources to order the necessary infrastructure.

The crowding has been made worse by diversion of infrastructure to the recently opened speed rail connecting Ben-Gurion Airport to Yerushalayim.