CityPass to shut down Light Rail in snow

Blame game erupts between transport company and the government over failure to order proper equipment for a winter snowstorm.

Tova Dvorin,

Jerusalem Light Rail in the snow
Jerusalem Light Rail in the snow
Ben Bresky

The Jerusalem Light Rail will not run this year in the event of snowfall, CityPass announced Sunday - despite the entire city's transportation depending upon it in the event of a storm. 

CEO Yaron Ravid has blamed the Ministry of Transportation for the policy change, noting in a letter leaked to Walla! News that the Ministry failed to order the necessary equipment to prepare and maintain the train system for inclement weather ahead of the winter. 

"The Jerusalem Light Rail is not designed to work in heavy snow (over 5 cm; just under 2 inches - ed.), and the reason for that is cuts to the state budget at the time of its construction," Ravid complained. He noted that, notwithstanding, the company reinforces the train and operates special maintenance equipment in the event of heavier snowfall to allow the system to be used during large storms. 

CityPass already ordered special snow shows which would allow workers to clear the tracks safely, he said - but the Ministry of Transportation is responsible for ordering special equipment to heat up the tracks themselves. 

"The State chose to drag their feet and make things difficult," he said. "Winter being right around the corner, it is doubtful whether the situation in the event of snow this year will be any different from last year." 

"I hope that the state will work through all available means to promote measures to make sure the train remains operational - even in snow." 

The Transportation Ministry responded by accusing CityPass of not honoring previous agreements to obtain all necessary equipment for snow removal, and that the Ministry stepped in only after CityPass itself dragged its feet on obtaining such equipment since as far back as 2013. 

"Unfortunately, instead of cooperating with the state, the CityPass company consistently denies responsibility in order to maximize profits, in sharp contrast to the agreements made with the State," it said. "The State calls on CityPass to stop tendentious delays and honor the commitment, so the train can run this winter without delays." 




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