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Saturday Aug. 13, 2011 3:57 PM (EST+7)

RAMALLAH, August 13 (JMCC) - After years of delays, Jerusalem's light rail is scheduled to begin operating on Friday, August 19. That is - if it gets the proper safety certification, reports the Jerusalem Post.

The light rail project has faced criticism for being built partly on occupied land.

“We’re still doing some fine-tuning before the start, but we’re ready,” said a City- Pass spokesman, Ozel Vatik.

CityPass is the conglomerate that is in charge of the train’s operation. CityPass had termed the last week before the train’s opening “Operation Passover,” and were doing a Passover-level cleaning of the entire light rail system, including scrubbing the tracks and removing all the graffiti on the new bus stops.

But a source familiar with the light rail’s operation expressed pessimism that the train would begin next Friday as promised. According to the source, the train still lacks final approval from the Independent Safety Assessment due to some problems with sensors, which make it difficult for the control center to know the exact location of each train. The problem is serious enough that it could keep the train from receiving the ISA before the end of next week.

CityPass will deploy hundreds of workers during the first few weeks of the train’s operation in order to explain the automatic ticketing system and answer passenger questions.

Vatik said in an ideal situation, the train’s start date would be pushed off for an additional month. Fighting over who would get preference at intersections, the train or cars, led to a yearslong delay in updating the traffic lights to give preference to the trains. CityPass has only updated 20 of the 100 traffic lights along the train’s route as of this week.







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