Egged Bus Group Wins Tel Aviv Light Rail Contract

But final award to operate Red Line hinges on antitrust approval

Avi Bar-Eli
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A light rail construction site in Tel Aviv, February 19, 2017.
A light rail construction site in Tel Aviv, February 19, 2017. Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Avi Bar-Eli

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.