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Life in Jerusalem: Delays on the Light Rail

In the center of Jerusalem, on Jaffa Road, the train is frequently as crowded as the NYC subway at rush hour.
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Photo Credit: Uri Lenz/FLASH90

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For those of us who travel in Jerusalem and use public transportation, the lightrail is now something we’ve totally gotten used to.  Most of us have relearned bus routes which had been changed and amputated when the route followed the train for too much of it. We do our best to keep our little yellow rechargeable Rav Kav ticket with plenty of rides magically tucked inside. We also learned how to quickly and efficiently pay immediately when entering the train before any inspector could stop us.

The train is so popular, there are many times of the day when even at one of the earliest stops in the route in Pisgat Ze’ev there are no empty seats.  And in the center of Jerusalem, on Jaffa Road, the train is frequently as crowded as the NYC subway at rush hour.

An advantage during Jerusalem rush hour is that it runs on tracks and doesn’t get stuck in traffic.  Well, honestly, that isn’t so true.  There’s a place in the Beit Chanina/Shuafat Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem where I’ve found myself more than once in a train that can’t move at all.

Cars turning onto the road which is parallel to the tracks get stopped by a red light in the distance.  The junction at which they are turning doesn’t go red quickly enough.

Last week, when I was on the train and standing in the very front, behind the driver, I heard another passenger saying

“Watch, the driver has a camera.  He’s going to take a picture of the cars licenses  blocking him. And then those drivers get one thousand (1,000) shekel fines.”

And yes, the driver did take out a smartphone, and he took pictures of the cars in front and their license plates.  Hopefully this should keep people from trying to sneak past the light when it’s turning red.

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About the Author: Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.


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