New Transportation Minister Miri Regev has given the green light to set up a series of sea shuttles along the Mediterranean coast in a bid to ease Israel’s chronic traffic jams, Channel 12 news reported Monday.
After taking office in May, Regev, reportedly asked for out-of-the-box solutions to try and ease the congestion.
One idea presented was for a series of sea shuttles that would link coastal cities like Netanya, Hadera and Ashdod with Tel Aviv, similar to commuter ferries in Manhattan, Bangkok and Istanbul.
According to the proposal, a ferry from Ashdod to Tel Aviv would take 26 minutes, compared to a 41 minute car drive during rush hour, or 51 minutes by train.
Similarly, a ferry from Netanya to Tel Aviv would take 20 minutes, compared to an average commute of 49 minutes by car, or 29 minutes by train.
Regev reportedly told officials that she wants the shuttle system to be government subsidized like bus services.
The report did not give a time frame for setting up the sea shuttle system or detail costs or what infrastructure would need to be constructed.
Israel’s coastal area, particularly around Tel Aviv, faces constant traffic woes that a series of new highways and interchanges have failed to alleviate. The city’s perennially delayed light rail system is not expected to inaugurate its first line until mid-2022.