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Jerusalem & Surrounding Area

View of the Old City of Jerusalem from the Haas PromenadeJune 25, 2009

View of the Old City of Jerusalem from the Haas Promenade
June 25, 2009

Jerusalem’s public transit offerings have been dominated by buses for many decades.  However, this has started to change with the construction and opening of the Jerusalem Light Rail in 2011, and other projects that are currently in the planning and construction stages.  Much of the network is centered on the city’s Central Bus Station, which opened in September 2001.  This station was built on the site of the old bus station, which was opened in the 1960s.

Egged operates all the intracity bus service in western Jerusalem.  Egged has four depots that provide intracity service, in addition to a depot at the Central Bus Station for intercity services and a maintenance facility in Atarot.  Starting in early 2012 and continuing in several phases until early 2014, the intracity lines were reconfigured to feed and complement the light rail line, which resulted in some bus routes that had remained unchanged for decades being significantly changed or cancelled entirely.  The improved bus network features several “rapid” lines that operate using dedicated lanes on several corridors throughout the city.

Until the government increased privatization in the transportation sector, Egged was also the primary operator of services to the communities surrounding Jerusalem, such as Ma’ale Adumim, Mevaseret Tzion, Givat Ze’ev, Beit Shemesh, Mateh Yehuda, and Mateh Binyamin.  Since 2009, many of these services have been transferred to other companies, such as Egged Ta’avura and Superbus.  However, Egged remains the operator of most intercity routes that start and end in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is the location of Israel’s first light rail system.  The first line, the Red Line, opened on August 19, 2011, running 8.6 miles from Har Herzl in the city’s southeast to Pisgat Ze’ev in its northwest via the City Center.  The line carries an estimated 130,000 passengers daily as of 2013.  There are plans to build at least two more light rail lines.  The Blue Line is planned to run from Ramot to Gilo, and its construction will involve converting the BRT corridor on Sderot Golda, Yehezkel, King George, Keren Hayesod, and Derech Hevron to a light rail line.  The Green Line is planned to run from Mount Scopus to Malha via Bar Ilan, the Central Bus Station, and Givat Ram.  A spur from the existing Red Line to Givat Shaul is also planned.

Israel Railways serves Jerusalem at the Malha station, adjacent to Malha Mall in the southern part of the city.  However, as this location is not convenient to reach from much of the city and the train trip to Tel Aviv takes longer than the bus at just about every time of day, ridership on the train to and from Tel Aviv is fairly low.  A high speed line that will take only 28 minutes to reach Ben Gurion Airport and 35 minutes to reach Tel Aviv is under construction with a terminal station to be located at Binyanei HaUma, directly in front of the Central Bus Station.

Jerusalem Egged MAN NL-313 & MAN NL-323F Buses

Over the span of about a decade, MAN-NL buses have become the dominant force in the Egged Jerusalem fleet. Initially, Egged ordered MAN NL-313 buses but in the mid-2010s began to procure the MAN NL-323F instead. The MAN NL-313 buses feature flipdot LED and LCD destination signs, while the NL-323F buses have amber LED destination signs and frameless windows.

Jerusalem Egged MAN NG-313 Buses

Egged's MAN NG-313 buses entered service in 2003. They are assigned to many high volume routes throughout the city that are not part of the city's BRT network.

Jerusalem Egged MAN NG-363F Buses

The initial MAN NG-363Fs ae are Egged's first 4-door articulated buses. They arrived starting in the fall of 2010 for service on the city's BRT lines (currently 71, 72, 74, 75, 77, and 78). However, they are known to make appearances on other routes as well. In April 2015, Egged began to operate a 5-door version of the NG-363F. These buses operate in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and feature an updated silver and green livery.

Jerusalem Egged MAN 11-220 "Mini" Buses

Egged's MAN 11-220 buses primarily operated on the routes serving the Old City, where standard size buses cannot operate due to the narrow streets and tight curves. They were retired following the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz "Sprinter" buses in 2011.

Jerusalem Egged Mercedes-Benz O 405 Buses

The Mercedes Benz O 405 buses were a primary mainstay on the Jerusalem streets. With the arrival of newer, low-floor MAN buses in the early 2010s, they were gradually phased out of service.

Jerusalem Egged Mercedes-Benz O 405 G Buses

A handful of Mercedes-Benz O 405 G buses remained in service as of early 2014, however, their numbers continue to dwindle as newer, low floor buses with 4 and 5 doors each are delivered.

Jerusalem Mercedes-Benz "Sprinter" Buses

The Mercedes-Benz "Sprinter" buses are used for special services, routes that travel through the Old City where standard size buses cannot fit, and other low volume services.

Jerusalem CityTour (Route 99) Double Decker Buses

Route 99 was a tourist route, making 28 stops at major tourist attractions such as Mount Scopus, the Western Wall, Herzl Museum, Yad Vashem, the Israel Museum, and Knesset, as well as major hotels, on a two hour loop of the city. The buses were equipped with a stereo system and headphones were provided to all riders, allowing them to hear a description of the route in one of eight languages (Hebrew, Arabic, English, French, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish) as they traveled. Tickets for Route 99 were valid all day on the day of use and riders could hop on and hop off the bus as much as they want. Route 99 made 4 complete loops of the city Sunday through Thursday and operated a more limited schedule on Friday. In 2005, Egged retrofitted several of its retired Neoplan Skyliner double-decker buses to operate on Route 99 in Jerusalem; some of these buses came with open tops for use in the summer while the remainder were closed for winter service. In 2010, a new double decker bus built by MAN with a roof that can be opened like that on a convertible car was delivered and entered service. The Neoplans were placed in storage and used only as backups. Egged transferred the route to Yara Tours in 2015 and Yara Tours, after operating it as an on demand service, discontinued the route entirely sometime in late 2015 or early 2016. The current status of the MAN Double-Decker that was purchased for use on Route 99 is unknown.

Jerusalem Light Rail Rolling Stock

The Jerusalem Light Rail has a fleet of 46 Alstom Citadis 302 light rail vehicles. This is the same model that operates in Paris (Line T2), Rotterdam, Barcelona, and Madrid. The cars were delivered to the Port of Ashdod beginning in September of 2007, began testing in mid-2009, and entered service upon the opening of the light rail in August 2011. The Alstom Citadis 302s for the Jerusalem Light Rail have some special features unique for Israel's security situation. Among other security features, the LRVs have windows that will not shatter in the event that rocks are thrown at the train, and the train undercarriages are designed so that bombs cannot be planted under the trains. The trains also have more standard features such as automated announcements (in Hebrew, Arabic, and English), LED signs that display the next stop, and CCTV that can be monitored by the operator.

Jerusalem Light Rail French Hill Depot

The light rail depot, maintenance center, and operations center is located near French Hill. Trains can access the yard via a wye just north of the Givat HaMivtar station.

Jerusalem Light Rail Construction Photos

Ground was broken for the Jerusalem Light Rail in 2002, but the track was not all laid until late June 2010, and service did not begin until August 19, 2011.

Jerusalem Area Egged Taavura Buses

Egged Ta'avura is a subsidiary of Egged and Ta'avura that was founded in 2006. Egged Ta'avurah began operating the bus routes between Jerusalem and Givat Ze'ev and Mevaseret Tzion in December 2012, between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim in December 2013, and between Jerusalem and Mateh Binyamin in January 2015.

Jerusalem Area Veolia (Connex) Buses

Connex operated bus lines from Jerusalem to Modi'in and Bnei Brak until it ended its Israeli operates in the fall of 2013. Kavim took over the Modi'in service and Afikim took over the Bnei Brak service.

Jerusalem Area Afikim Buses

Afikim was founded in 2008 as a part of Sela Holdings. It began service that same year, operating a handful of routes connecting the West Bank to other parts of Israel. In 2013, it took over all of Connex's (Veolia's) bus routes, significantly expanding its network. As of 2014, it operates 145 lines with about 350 buses.

Jerusalem Area Superbus Buses

Superbus was initially founded in 2000 and began operations in the Jerusalem area in 2008. As of 2015, it operates lines between Jerusalem, Mateh Binyamin, and Beit Shemesh.

Jerusalem Area Kavim Buses

Kavim took over the Superbus operated lines between Jerusalem and Modi'in Illit and the Connex operated lines to Modi'in in 2013. It was initially founded in 2000 and operates primarily in the eastern Gush Dan.

Jerusalem Area Metropoline Buses

Metropoline operates a single bus route to Jerusalem, a daily round trip from Dimona.

Jerusalem Area Dan Intercity Buses

Dan operated routes 400 and 402 between Jerusalem and Bnei Brak jointly with Egged, and then became the sole operator of Route 400 while Egged took over all Route 402 service in the early 2010s. A few years later, Route 400 was transferred to Connex, ending Dan's presence in Jerusalem.

Illit Buses

Illit operates bus service to, from, and within the city of Beilar Illit. It was founded in 2005 and first began operations in 2006. Since 2011, it has been a part of the Kavim company but still maintains its own independent branding.

Abandoned Jerusalem-Jaffa Railway Right-of-Way

Service on the Jerusalem-Jaffa Railway was suspended in 1998. Following its reopening in 2005, the line terminated at a new station constructed next to the Malha Mall, rather than the original "Khan" station closer to central Jerusalem. The line between Malha and the Old Jerusalem station was abandoned for many years and ultimately converted to a linear park in 2012.