All aboard soon: Wireless Internet and bicycles
Plans for new services come about two months after Israel Railways settled fierce labor disputes with its unions, and seems to indicate that the company is back to focusing on passengers' needs.
Wireless Internet will be installed at all train stations by October, and passengers will soon be able to bring their bikes on board during off-peak hours.
The changes are among the new services Israel Railways CEO Boaz Zafrir announced Monday at a news conference.
The plans for new services come about two months after Israel Railways settled fierce labor disputes with its unions, and seems to indicate that the company is back to focusing on passengers' needs.
Zafrir said that wireless Internet is already available on a trial basis at two stations in Tel Aviv and aboard two trains, and will be fully available by October.
Until now, only folding bicycles were permitted on trains, but soon regular bicycles will be allowed between 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. and after 7 p.m., as well as all day Friday.
Also, starting in September, commuters will be able to use their Rav-Kav cards between bus and train trips.
The railways also plans to work with municipalities and large employers to arrange public transportation to and from train stations where it is now lacking. Work is also underway to coordinate bus and train schedules.
A fast train from Beersheva to Tel Aviv is due to begin running on July 14, cutting travel time by 20 minutes to 55 minutes, Zafrir said. The railways' sole 24-hour-a-day service on the Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion Airport line will be joined in August by a second line between Ashkelon and the airport.
The addition of new cars to the fleet will increase the number of seats from 35,000 to 40,000 by the end of 2012.