Mapping Each Israeli Transit Operator’s Service Area

The organization of transit services in Israel can be a bit confounding to people who are not familiar with how everything comes together.  It used to be that Egged basically had a monopoly in every part of the country except Tel Aviv, where the Dan Bus Company had a monopoly of its own.  Both companies were overseen by the Ministry of Transportation, and they received significant subsidies from the Israeli government to support their operations.  During Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister in the late 1990s, he proposed privatizing transit services and increasing competition by allowing other companies, including those that had not operated in Israel previously, to bid on tenders for specific services that would be put out by the Transportation Ministry.  Egged went on strike to protest this change and brought all of Israel to a halt, but the march towards privatization and increased competition had begun.  Today, the Transportation Ministry puts out tenders for companies to bid on.  The company with the best bid package for that tender wins the right to operate those routes for a set number of years, at which point a new tender is made available for bidding for the next contract duration.

As of this writing, there are 26 companies providing transportation services under the auspices of the Ministry of Transportation, including the Carmelit in Haifa, Citipass (which operates the Jerusalem Light Rail), Israel Railways, the Golan Regional Council (which operates the transit service in the Golan Heights) and seven bus operators in East Jerusalem.  In response to a query on a Facebook group that I am a part of, I used a recent GTFS data feed download, I mapped out the starting point for each transit route in the country, and color coded those points by operator.  You can see the results of that here: 

Operators in certain parts of the country have changed over time.  For example, Ashkelon intracity lines have been operated by Dan BaDarom since 2016, but before that they were operated by Egged Ta’avurah and before that by Egged itself.  The bus routes in Tiberias were operated by Connex (Veolia) until that company ceased operations within Israel, at which point those services were transferred to Afikim and are now operated by Superbus

As you play with the highlighter and filters on the map above, what patterns or trends do you see?  Feel free to post any observations and/or questions you have about the map above in the comments section on this post.

New Photos from Israel & Washington, DC Added

The summer travel season is well underway, and photos from my adventures in May and June are now available for your viewing pleasure here on Oren’s Transit Page.

Most of the new content can be found in the Israel section, where you will find new photos of the Jerusalem Light Rail, Egged buses in Jerusalem (including the Solaris Urbino 18 unit currently on trial), Egged Ta’avura buses in Jerusalem, Afikim buses in Jerusalem, Kavim buses in Jerusalem, and Superbus buses in both Jerusalem and Tiberias.  If you haven’t been to Israel lately, with the entry of the Golden Dragon and Yutong bus models from China and Solaris buses from Poland in to the Israeli market, there is quite a bit of diversity in Israeli operators’ fleets beyond the typical MAN and Mercedes-Benz buses that have dominated the scene for years.  You can also find photos of the exterior of the new Jerusalem High Speed Railway station (the interior of the much delayed station will be open to the public this fall if you believe the latest rumors).

In addition, new photos of various WMATA equipment types have been added as well.

Here is the complete list of pages with new photos in this update:

Oren’s Reading List: Riding an entire system in a day

The Vancouver Sun reports that today, a man named Stephen Quinlan intends to ride the entire Vancouver SkyTrain system in about 3 hours, in order to set the Guinness World Record for achieving the feat.  You can read about his preparations here.  I made no effort to set a record while doing so, but I did ride the entire Skytrain in a single day on August 7, 2007, back when it only had two lines and fewer stations.  It isn’t the first system I rode in an entire day, either.  The largest system I rode in a single day is the Washington, DC Metrorail (in 2002, when it only had 83 stations), but I have also explored the entire TTC Subway (2007), San Juan Tren Urbano (2016), Glasgow Underground (2005), Rome Metro (2008), Jerusalem Light Rail (on opening day in 2011) and Haifa Carmelit (2007) in a single day, and did the Tren Urbano, Jerusalem Light Rail, and Carmelit on a single fare.  Needless to say, it is a much easier feat to achieve on a smaller system such as Haifa’s (the smallest subway in the world) as opposed to a city such as London or New York, but that is to be expected.  

Have you ever tried to ride an entire system in one day?  Were you successful?  Were you trying to set any records?  Feel free to post your answers in the comments below!

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Rail Photo of the Month: January 2018

Alstom Citadis 302 003

Alstom Citadis 302 003

Location: Hatzanchanim Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Operator of Vehicle: Citipass
Date of Photo: June 2, 2016

Jerusalem has been in the news quite a bit lately.  Despite what you may see in the press, life goes on in what you would likely consider to be a normal way in this extraordinary complex city, and thousands use the city’s public transportation system to travel between home, work, school, shopping, and other destinations.  The light rail line that opened in 2011 is a rolling melting pot used by all the sectors of the city’s population.  At pretty much any time of day at any point along the line, you’ll be crammed in to a car with secular Jews, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Arabs, Palestinians, and tourists.  The light rail line serves a variety of different neighborhoods, including the Arab neighborhoods of Shuafat and Beit Hanina, as well as the city center.  While there is a notable security presence and the Alstom Citadis 302 rolling stock used in Jerusalem had some special modifications made to it in the interest of counter-terrorism, aside from a brief service suspension due to safety issues in 2014, incidents of violence on the light rail have been few and far between.  Jerusalem is a fascinating city that should be on your potential traveling destinations for a host of reasons, and if you’re a transit fan, the light rail gives you an additional one.  

For more photos of the Jerusalem Light Rail, please click here

Jerusalem Meets Paris

Alstom Citadis 302 001 on Derech Yafo (Jaffa Road) at Shlomtzion HaMalka, June 2, 2016

The Jerusalem Light Festival has been taking place each summer since 2011.  Each night for just over a week, exhilarating light displays are set up throughout the Old City.  This year, the festival extended up Jaffa Road, the historic main thoroughfare through the newer, western part of the city that now also serves as the right of way for the Jerusalem Light Rail route through the city center.  One of the installations on Jaffa Road was a miniature Eiffel Tower.  Since the light rail operates using French built Alstom Citadis 302 vehicles, it seemed only natural to try getting a photo of the Eiffel Tower replica and a light rail train in the same shot.  This is where my title for the photo, and this post, came from.

Jaffa Road has become a great pedestrian space since road was closed to vehicular traffic and the light rail was constructed on the thoroughfare, so it was difficult to get a shot without pedestrians blocking either the train, the Eiffel Tower model, or both.  Furthermore, the fact it was night meant that I needed to be using settings that ran the risk of a blurry photo if I wasn’t steady while I operated the camera and as the train went by.  (This photo was taken with an ISO speed of 800, a shutter speed of 1/50 second, and an f-stop of 3.5.)  Despite the fact it was about midnight when I was there, trains were running fairly frequently, and I had several opportunities to try getting the photo I desired.  This is the best of my attempts, and I think it is quite a good one.

Incidentally, this isn’t my only photo of the light rail with a connection to this year’s light festival.  Several trains had a band of lights installed along their rooflines and I got a few photos of those trains, too.  One of those photos can be seen below.

Alstom Citadis 302 037 on HaTsanhanim between Damascus Gate and Kikar Tzahal, June 2, 2016

For more photos of the Jerusalem Light Rail, please click here.  Oren’s Transit Page also has photos from some of the other cities around the world that operate the Alstom Citadis 302, including Paris, Madrid, and Rotterdam.

 

Rail Photo of the Month: March 2016

Alstom Citadis 302 039

Alstom Citadis 302 039

Location: Derech Yafo (Jaffa Road) at Yafo-Merkaz Station, Jerusalem, Israel
Operator of Vehicle:  Citipass
Date of Photo: August 19, 2011

After many delays during its construction, the Jerusalem Light Rail opened to the public on August 19, 2011.  Thousands came to check out the line on its first day of operation.  However, prior to opening, many were critical of the impact that the light rail construction had on the Jaffa Road, one of the main streets through Central Jerusalem.  Buses were rerouted and many businesses suffered as the construction wore on along this major thoroughfare.  However, the pain was probably worth the gain.  As seen in this photo, the once congested Jaffa Road has become a well utilized pedestrian mall that is far more pleasant for enjoying a meal at one of the many cafes or restaurants along this stretch.  And the light rail itself is highly utilized and the centerpiece of a much improved transportation network for all of Jerusalem.  The road to get there may have been difficult, but the problematic aspects of the construction have been forgotten as time has gone on.

For more photos of the Jerusalem Light Rail, please click here.

 

New Arrivals

Over the course of redesigning Oren’s Transit Page, I was also continuing to travel, take photos, and add them in to the queue to be included in the redesigned website once it launched.  Now that the redesigned website is here, keep reading to find out what new material was added in conjunction with the redesign.  This isn’t an exhaustive list but rather just the “highlights”, there is plenty of new content scattered around the whole site.

NABI 60-BRT 9574 on Main Street at Aliso Street
Los Angeles, CA
July 11, 2014

Starting off in the United States, I traveled to a number of places for the first time in my life in 2014.  I made a Midwest swing in May 2014 that resulted in the creation of sections for Minneapolis-St. Paul (just prior to the Green Line opening) and Kansas City.  After that, in July 2014, I did some long distance Amtrak travel (with some flights in between) and visited Los Angeles and San Diego for the first time.  Also on this trip were stops in Denver (in time for the soft reopening of Denver’s Union Station), Chicago, and San Francisco.  I had passed through Denver before but I had never used or photographed its mass transit prior to that summer.  The stops in Chicago and San Francisco were my first in each city since 2007 and were quite brief, but there are new photos in those sections as well, including my first photos of the CTA 5000 Series cars.

The Washington, DC section now includes photos of some of the newer buses to ply the region’s streets, such as WMATA’s New Flyer XDE40 buses and Ride On’s Gillig Advantage/CNG buses.  On the rail side of things, there is now a gallery for photos of the new WMATA 7000 Series railcars, manufactured by Kawasaki.

PCC 3263 at Capen Street
Milton, MA
May 2, 2011

I last traveled to Philadelphia in 2012 and was able to get a last round of Silverliner II and Silverliner III photos, in addition to my first Silverliner V photos.  I made two trips to Boston, one in 2011 and the other in 2013.  On the 2011 trip, I rode the southern end of the Orange Line for the first time, and both trips included a number of trips on the Green Line and Red Line.  I also was able to get photos from along the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line right of way and of various MBTA buses, including the trackless trolleys, in Cambridge.  Finally, for the first time since Oren’s Transit Page’s initial launch over 15 years ago, there are new photos in the Atlanta section.

There are also new photos from New York City, but due to the immense size of that section, it was decided to leave it “as is” in the old format and add the new photos to the Uncaptioned Photos gallery for now.  The New York section will be updated with the new design as soon as possible.

North of the border, there is a new section for photos from Niagara Falls, Ontario.  My only trip to South America to date was in 2010 so there isn’t anything new in the Brazil and Argentina sections (while Buenos Aires is on my bucket list, I haven’t found the occasion to get myself down there just yet).

Crossing the ocean to Europe, I visited both Hungary and Portugal for the first time.  My stop in Budapest was a layover between flights in 2011 that was measured in hours rather than days, but it was enough time to photograph some of the city’s trams, buses, and trolleybuses and whet my appetite for another trip there that will be longer 13 hours. I spent almost a full week in Lisbon, a city that shares many similarities to San Francisco including the fact that its trams are a tourist attraction in and of themselves, and visited continental Europe’s westernmost bus stop for good measure.

Bombardier Flexity Outlook “Cityrunner” 3069 at Place Royale
Brussels, Belgium
November 21, 2013

In 2008, I unexpectedly found myself with 90 minutes in Brussels due to a missed train connection, which was just enough time to get some transit photos before the next train to my destination came.  In 2013, I was in Brussels yet again, this time for a full 8 hours between flights, so that section has seen some additional expansion including a new gallery for photos of the Belgian National Railway.

Finally, in the Middle East, the Israel section has expanded further and to my knowledge, Oren’s Transit Page’s Israel section is the largest of its kind on any English language website.  The Jerusalem Light Rail opened to passengers just after I began the long process of overhauling the website, so many photos of revenue service along the length of the entire line are now included on the site.  The Metronit bus rapid transit system in the Haifa region opened in 2014, and there are also photos of that.  In addition, there are many new photos of the many bus operators that operate throughout the entire length of the country.

I hope you enjoy exploring the site, whether you choose to browse the new sections, old sections, or a mix of both!  And if you have a favorite section, let everyone know what it is in the comment section below!