Thursday, August 18, 2011

Only 3 Years Late.

Residents in Jerusalem often wondered what would come first, the messiah or the light rail system A.K.A the tram system. As of this morning the Jerusalem light rail system has finally started taking passengers, while the messiah is as of yet absent. This is actually an example of Israeli efficiency - only 3 years late, and hundreds of million shekels over-budget - with ongoing litigation surrounding the circumstances of the delay for another half a billion shekels.

The light rail system should have been greeted with open arms, however after the agonizing process the entire city of Jerusalem has had to suffer - including the digging up of the entire city center for 3 years, no one is really rejoicing. Add to this equation the fact that the light rail isn't fully functional - the "smart traffic lights" which are meant to give it priority over other vehicles are not working, and the frustration just grows.

There is another point of cynicism. It has been announced that for the first two weeks travel on the light train would be free. This has been explained as an opportunity for Jerusalem residents to get to know the train, and alternatively because until the traffic lights are fixed, travel time on the train is expected to be somewhat slower then walking. However the real reason for this generosity is that the new hi tech tickets that were meant to be used - don't work.

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