תחנת רכבת השלום
Tek Aviv HaShalom station on Monday
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Train station in Ashdod on Monday

Israel's trains restart after being halted 89 days ago over coronavirus

Railway officials say the crowd are still much smaller than on usual days, with 38,000 tickets sold by 6am, compared to 250,000 sold on a regular morning; 'I was expecting much longer queues, apparently some people are still worried,' says one passenger

Assaf Zagriak, Ahiye Raved |
Published: 06.22.20 , 08:49
Israel's trains were relaunched on Monday morning, 89 days after being halted due to the coronavirus outbreak.
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  • Railway traffic's reopening has remained in doubt until the last minute due to the Health Ministry's concerns the move would spark another outbreak of COVID-19. The relaunch date has been moved four times until June 22 restart was decided upon by the government last week.
    תחנת עד הלום אשדודתחנת עד הלום אשדוד
    Train station in Ashdod on Monday
    (Photo: Avi Rokach )
    Israel Railway officials said by 6am they've sold only 38,000 tickets as compared to 250,000 sold on a regular Monday morning.
    One of the reasons for the low number of commuters is the IDF's decision to ban soldiers from travelling on trains at this stage.
    A number of soldiers who attempted to sneak into Haifa's Hof HaCarmel train station, were stopped by security guards at the location.
    תחנת רכבת השלוםתחנת רכבת השלום
    Tek Aviv HaShalom station on Monday
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    According to the public health orders, each train can only carry up to 500 passengers, as opposed to a maximum of 1,000 on regular days. Passengers are required to wear face masks throughout the trip, even when making phone calls, and are prohibited from eating and drinking during the ride.
    In addition, passengers are required to book tickets in advance at Israel Railways website or mobile app in order to avoid overcrowding at the stations and inside the trains.
    באר שבע מרכז באר שבע מרכז
    Central train station in Be'er Sheva on Monday
    (Photo: Barel Efraim)
    Some passengers complained that when purchasing tickets via Israel Railway's website, they had been instructed to arrive at their respective stations at least half an hour before the train's departure. But, when they arrived at the location, they'd been refused entrance by the security on grounds that they arrived too early.
    "I'm not afraid, you can't sit around and wait at home, you have to keep living," said a passenger named Shirly, who was travelling from Haifa to Jerusalem. "The truth is that I was expecting much longer queues, apparently some people are still worried."

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