Egged Bus Group Wins Tel Aviv Light Rail Contract

But final award to operate Red Line hinges on antitrust approval

A light rail construction site in Tel Aviv, February 19, 2017.
Ofer Vaknin

NTA, the government company that developed the great Tel Aviv Light Rail, said on Wednesday it expected to award the contract to operate the system’s inaugural Red Line to a group led by the Egged bus cooperative.

NTA said final award of the contract hinged on approval by the Antitrust Authority. Egged, which controls 37% of all public transportation in Israel, is the lead partner in the Tevel consortium, with a 51% stake. The other partners are the Chinese companies Shenzhen Metro and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation with 30% and 19%, respectively.

If it gets the contract, Tevel will be responsible for everything from training drivers to maintenance of the cars and infrastructure. The contract is for 10 years with a six-year optional extension.

The group beat out rival bids from the Dan bus cooperative, which teamed up with the Beijing Metro, and Derech Eretz, an Israeli company with a Chinese partner, too, Guangzhou Metro. Losing the contract will be a blow to Dan, whose position as the leading public transit provider in the greater Tel Aviv area will now be shared with Egged and its partners.