Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Reflecting" on Jerusalem's Lightrail System, Fear of the Future Changes

For many of us who travel in Jerusalem, residents, commuters, visitors etc., we've pretty much gotten used to riding in the Jerusalem trolley.  It's pretty easy, because it's free.  Yes, there are a few difficulties, like finding a seat at times, holding on when standing--because the poles are dangerously high and there aren't any straps to grab.

Since it's still free, a ride on the train is now part of the tour.
All those red caps are from a group of tourists.
There is great mystery concerning the upcoming bus route changes.  Pundits remind us that the Olmert promise to the company running the trolley was that no bus route would compete with the trains.  Simply put, that means that all the routes from Pisgat Ze'ev and Beit Chanina-Shuafat* to the Old City and Jerusalem Municipality, center of town, Machane Yehuda Market, Egged Bus Station (CBS,) and up Herzl Boulevard to Shaare Zedek Hospital and Mount Herzl must be cancelled.

A close friend of mine who lives in a senior-independent living home in Bayit V'Gan, near Mt. Herzl and Shaare Zedek, is very worried.  Now she can take one bus from just outside her door, which takes her downtown or all the way to Emek Refaim and even Talpiyot.  If she has to switch from bus to train to bus, she just won't be able to get out.  It's too much.  She's not the only one who would find such route cancellations life-changing in a very bad way.

Another even more serious problem is that there just won't be enough room on the trains for all the passengers.  At present, even as the train is free and buses-still full of passengers- cost money, the trains are packed.  There's no room for the bus passengers to join.  Also, it would add much too much time to the trip to get on and off buses and trains and back again.

I wonder how many of the planners are dependent on public transportation.  Before they make changes, they and their families should spend a month only traveling on buses and the lightrail. And the job should be restricted to those who live, work and/or shop in Jerusalem.

*Would this really effect the Arab bus lines, or are they exempt?


Anonymous said...

Please say tehillim for the life & fertility of Kayla Rus bas Chaya Rochel קיילא רות בת חיה רחל. She was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma and is on chemotherapy until they can shrink & operate. She is 14.

Hadassa said...

Hopefully if it's obvious that there's a need for both the light rail and buses on a particular route the buses won't be canceled, even if that was the original plan. Buses can also be returned if the light rail can't meet the demand. If the powers that be are too out of touch to realize what the needs of the average passenger are, the "average passengers" should clearly voice them. Video clips of hundreds of people waiting on the sidewalk might get the point across. Of course not much concerning the light rail has been logical.

Batya said...

a, refuah shleimah

Hadassa, logic, traveler-needs and business-sense were never part of the planning. As I understand, Olmert's office promised the train company a monopoly on their routes.