Israel: Riots Result in Huge Damage to Jerusalem Light Rail

Jerusalem light rail franchisee CityPass is counting the cost of the damage during the current riots in the city. The Purchase Tax will be expected to compensate CityPass for an estimated tens of millions of shekels for the damage and the franchisee has already begun proceedings to apply for compensation.

The main damage has been to two stations at Shuafat and Es-Sahl, which have been completely destroyed. Pictures were also shown of rioters attempting to saw off the electricity pylon supplying energy to the light rail system but the police were able to intervene before any major damage was done to the electricity grid.

Israel Police today prohibited CityPass staff from touring the damaged area and have advised waiting until the three day mourning period for the murdered youth Muhammad Abu-Khudair is ended.

Beyond the damage to property, CityPass looks set to lose millions of shekels more as a result of losing passengers in the city's northern neighborhoods. The Jerusalem light rail began operating in 2011 and has so far been considered a success story transporting an average of 40,000 passengers daily — one of the world's highest figures for a light rail system. Until the latest crisis, the line between Pisgat Ze'ev in the north to Mount Herzl in the south, served all religions and sectors of the city and to date there had only been very rare incidents of violence between Jewish and Arab passengers.

To reduce tensions the police have ordered that the light rail only operate between Mount Herzl and Givat Hamivtar (French Hill) until further notice.

CityPass CEO Yaron Ravid told "Globes," "Ultimately the residents that damaged the railway have damaged the service that they themselves enjoy. We have drivers, inspectors, and control room staff from East Jerusalem and the extremists have caused them damage and it's a shame. The light rail is a microcosm of Jerusalem and has been a place of coexistence for three years. I really hope that we succeed in getting life back on track."


Copyright 2014 - Globes, Tel Aviv, Israel

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