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Tour by cable car - the tourist and transportation potential for the city of Haifa (and the miss) ◄ Watch

Watch the video article I made on the cable car tour I did on March 6, the eve of the Purim holiday.

(Photo: Yaron Hanan)

The construction of the cable car began in 2018, at a time when the Minister of Transportation was Israel Katz and the mayor was Yona Yahav. A cable car route has been planned between the Gulf center towards the academic institutions, the Technion and the university.

I could immediately understand the contribution of this line to the academic institutions - they will save many parking spaces, by allowing the students and lecturers to be able to quickly reach the campuses on the Carmel, but it was clear to me that most of the day this line would be relatively deserted and the main use of it would be in the morning hours, when the students They come to school and at the end of the day when they return to their home outside Haifa.

The cable car (Photo: Yaron Hanan)
The cable car (Photo: Yaron Hanan)

The question that my friends and I asked Yahav right from the start was: "How does this benefit Haifa?"

The answers we received never convinced us that this is an efficient transportation solution that will serve the city of Haifa. Proposals submitted by a council member from the "Greens" faction at the time, Adr. Shmoelik Galbhart, to give priority to a replacement cable car line that would start from the Carmel Beach Center and continue through the Carmel Hospital and from there to the Horev Center and the University were rejected outright by Yahav. Towards the end of his term, Yahav recognized the importance of a line from the University of Haifa and the Horev Center to the Carmel Coast, but it was already too late.

Galbhart's proposal made sense, mainly because of the transportation advantage of such a cable car line, which without a doubt would have managed to be maximally active, for many hours throughout the day and evening.
In the end, the planned line from the check post to the university was built and belatedly opened in 2022.

Klish opposed the project

The mayor of the city, Einat Kalish-Rotem, who replaced Yahav in October 2018, opposed the project, even before the beginning of her term, when she was in the municipal opposition. Even when it was already clear that there was no way back and the project was a fait accompli and she would be "forced" to participate in the inauguration of this cable car line, she had harsh statements against the project. Nevertheless, until the last moment, near the inauguration of the cable car, Klish continued to oppose the project. The attitude of the mayor of Haifa to the cable car project was seen by the Ministry of Transportation as a hindrance, so much so that the ministry threatened legal proceedings against the municipality, but in the end the cable car started operating during Kalish's time.

The facts became clear after the cable car was put into operation

Immediately after the start of the operation of the new cable car called "Karvalit", two facts became clear, one that was actually known in advance and one that surprised many.

The first fact:
The residents of Haifa cannot enjoy the cable car, as a means of transportation that will encourage leaving the private car at home and will serve as a link between the nearby residential neighborhoods and the many means of public transportation that already exist in the center of the Bay. The reason for this is that no one in the municipality and in the Ministry of Transportation bothered to make the cable car conveniently accessible to the nearby neighborhoods in Neve Shanan, Ramat Alon and Sabioni Dania, even though two dedicated stations were established for this purpose. This is the first miss of an existing and unused potential, the answers to this miss should be received from the two mayors, Yona Yahav and Einat Kalish, as well as from the Ministry of Transportation.

The second fact:
What surprised many is the huge demand of citizens from all over the country to come and ride the cable car, especially on Fridays and Holy Week. Most of the demand comes from a reason touristic purely. Thousands came, on Fridays as well as on the days "between the Egyptians" and of course on Passover and Sukkot. This can be understood because traveling on this line is an attraction in itself. You can enjoy the ride and the spectacular view of Haifa Bay along the route and of course from the heights of Mount Carmel. The climb to the mountain integrated well with the attractions that already exist there: the university's aviary, the amazing Hecht Museum, the Wild Animal Park, the Forties Grove and more, all within a reasonable walking distance in good weather. Later, groups of tourists from abroad who started arriving after the country's borders were opened at the end of the Corona epidemic also joined the cable car ride.

Tourist potential and transportation problem

Actually, there shouldn't have been any surprise in this phenomenon.
After all, the touristic demand for this type of attraction was already known from other cable car projects, which were indeed targeted in advance for tourism such as: Rosh Hankara, Menara Cliff, Hermon, Bat Galim and Mesada cable car, most of which attract a lot of tourism for at least part of the year and generate income for attraction operators near each such cable car .

All over the world there are more than enough examples of the tourist success of cable cars that go up to the top of a mountain from which a beautiful view can be seen, and in those countries, in the vicinity of such a cable car, other entertainment and leisure places are usually developed that generate additional income.

Despite this, the planners of the cable car did not make good use of this cable car line, also for tourism needs that generates income and presents more paid attractions together with leisure businesses and recreation for the whole family, when the cable car is an attractive transportation and tourist line that leverages them easily.

Tourism and academic institutions

If attractions were planned along the cable car line, the academic institutions, especially the University of Haifa, could benefit from this.

Today, all the attractions for travelers in the university area are free, and that's a good thing, but besides them, more cafes and restaurants, attractive operating facilities for children and families, paid guided tours in the area, as well as exhibits, additional museums that will present the achievements of the university, and the same could also be developed at the Technion, in the fields of academic specialization their.

Who is it good for to have tourism along the line?

Any such academic institution could charge a reasonable fee from the businesses that would open in its field and bring in additional revenue, the municipality would earn the property tax payments of these businesses and the state would earn more tax revenue. The public would also benefit from a tourist site rich in experiences and pleasure, and so tourists from abroad would also be happy to come there in large quantities. Simply a big profit for everyone.

The cable car and its effect on visits to the Hecht Museum - watch an interview with Shonit Marmelstein - director of the Hecht Museum at Haifa University

(Photo: Yaron Hanan)

Cable car opening on Saturday

The previous Minister of Transportation, Merav Michaeli, dealt with the issue of opening the cable car line on Saturdays and holidays for domestic and foreign tourism and in the end this did not happen even though the new line is not included in the status quo with the ultra-Orthodox.

Kalish, whose coalition is based on the ultra-Orthodox, refused to operate on Shabbat. Some approached Michaeli and claimed that the cable car line has great tourist potential, especially on weekends and holidays, but despite this, the former minister Michaeli gave it up, mainly for political and wrong reasons and this is a historic giving up of an opportunity that may not come again. By the way, the Hecht Museum at the university is open to the public on Saturdays and holidays.

And what does the actual travel data mean?

The publication of the cable car travel data for the first seven months of its operation (Omer Carmon - "The Marker" January 30, 2023) showed that only 5000 passengers rode it, while the cable car can carry 2400 passengers every day! This gap between the potential and the actual utilization screams to the heavens. Here is another proof that for now as a transportation project this line is far from justifying itself from an economic point of view.
If we add to this the non-operation of the cable car on Saturdays and holidays, despite the high tourist demand, it is evident that erroneous decisions continue to be made in the municipality and in the relevant government offices regarding the efficient utilization of this soured project.  

It is recommended to watch the attached video which illustrates the great potential that was missed in the "cable car" project and the interview with the director and curator of the Hecht Museum Ms. Shamrit Marmelstein who describes the proven potential in connecting the cable car to attractions such as the Hecht Museum and other leisure and entertainment places in its vicinity.

Contact Chai here: At watsapBy email

Yaron Hanan
Yaron Hanan
Former city council member from the "Greens" faction • Expert in risk management and emergency situations

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22 תגובות

    • Rightfully so. It needs to be dismantled, it is not effective for anything, it is dangerous in the winter (each winter semester is interrupted dozens of times) and it will put Haifa into deficits of millions of shekels every year. A stupid cable car in a reformed country would be prosecuted and a commission of inquiry would be opened to find out who profited from this nonsense and why it was built when 3 surveys showed its unprofitability and lack of need.

  1. Error correction: the cable car is capable of transporting 2400 passengers per hour. per day

  2. During the children's vacations, many from the religious sector come, they are not janitors, they throw garbage and dirty diapers pollute the decency in the buildings next to the cable car
    The whole environment is dirty during the holidays and there are not enough trash cans

  3. Get a correction to the data: "Yafa-Nof" forecast was 27 thousand cable car passengers per day. In practice there are only... 4600 passengers a day! 17%!!
    And the worst is yet to come, because the operation and maintenance costs will soon be revealed, given the tiny income... but the individuals who predicted and initiated, approved and carried out, will already be somewhere else, sometimes in a more senior position. The question is who will learn the lesson for the future.
    In Denmark, they investigated thousands of major infrastructure entrepreneurs in the world, who far exceeded the budget forecasts, the schedule, or failed in their performance. The lesson was that the preparation of the forecasts should not be imposed on the body that initiated the project, or is also supposed to carry it out, because it is tainted by a conflict of interest. Therefore, his forecasts will be tainted with over-optimism, and his critics who present more realistic forecasts, will be slandered as development bullies and enemies of governance.

    • This is an average of the first year with the high numbers as cheap holiday tourism. In practice the number is less than 3000 for normal school days.
      Indeed a business

  4. to differentiate a thousand thousands of differences.
    Do you know that we have a brain that is in great demand all over the world?!
    And what are we doing with him here in our "developed" country?!
    Failures upon failures, combinations, intrigues, conspiracies, and a lot of successful creation of free sleeping.

  5. The check-post cable car - a mistake that can still be prevented. My article from 2011!
    The cable car from the check-post to the Technion and the university, perhaps exotic for the show, is less relevant for transportation.
    A preliminary survey by "Yafa-Nof" company in 95 saw 1233 passengers per hour. At the Technion, they raised an eyebrow, raised their survey, and only reached about 450 passengers per hour. In a city as prone to failure as Haifa, there is no room around its neck for another economic millstone. It is better to carry out the idea, which is positive in itself, elsewhere, as an essential, urgent, and economic connection! between the Carmel ridge and the coastal plain.
    However, "Yafa-Nof" was not impressed with the additional survey, and ordered an even more survey. Not according to a professional model accepted by experts, but as a "referendum" favored by politicians: If there is a cable car, will you use it? the respondents were asked. If there is - why not? The respondents answered,
    And the result perfectly matched the expectations of the bookers: 5 million passengers a year! With such a number you can "go to the grocery store", that is, to the municipality and the Ministry of Transportation.
    However, any real grocer, with a notebook in his hand and a pencil above his ear, would understand immediately: 5 million a year, after all, is 17 thousand a day, every day! When in 2025 there will be a maximum of 50 people on both campuses, and only a third of them are residents of North and East Haifa.
    Excluding dormitory residents, and those traveling by bus, private car, and in tunnels - how much will be left for the cable car? After all, even the most tired student ends up waking up by 9 am, and rushing to Camposo. What will happen to the cable car and its high-service and operational systems, during the rest of the day,
    And the rest of the holidays, and Sabbaths, and semester breaks? An electro-mechanical system requires maintenance even when the carriages are jolting and traveling, which will happen most of the time, with a high price tag all the time.
    Inevitable conclusion: yes to the cable car! But in the west of the city!

  6. I watched the fascinating article as if I were inside the car
    Hanan conveys information with a supreme grace and about the fact that his nose is huge.
    I have not yet tried a cable car ride, mainly because it transports
    to nowhere. In my matriculation, the school period passed (last quarter..)
    Indeed the cable car that is not operated on Saturdays and holidays,
    It was established with precious resources that were wasted. White elephant.
    Perhaps with repeated planning it will be possible to use it for public benefit
    and the municipal authority.

    • There was line 99 and excellent express lines
      Ask transport engineers why they cancel every efficient and good line??

  7. That's exactly why we opened a petition to activate it on Saturday, in addition to several great offers!

  8. You can use a cable car to get to the heart of the bay where there is a large medical center. and a business center, cinemas, and a train station. Maybe to give it more publicity
    It's a real shame that it doesn't operate on Saturdays and holidays like the other buses in Haifa.

    • Hello Hana. There can't be more advertising than there has been in the past year. The cable car does reach the center of the bay and the mall next to it. The problem is that for most Haifa neighborhoods there is no justification to travel to the university campus by bus to change and get off at the cable car, etc. at the Technion station. The cable car is not municipal but university only, so it is not clear why the campuses did not finance a cable car for themselves. I asked a resident of the nearby Ramat Dania if she would use the cable car if its station was in the middle of the neighborhood, her answer was no. I asked Dania resident A. if he traveled by cable car as someone who works at Histadrut Blvd. His answer was no - he has a parking space at work and it's more convenient and he doesn't want to get stuck with a cable car at night in the dark.
      In short, it is not perceived as convenient, not reliable, not fast, and not in the neighborhoods.
      It's just a few engineers at Yapa Nof and their fellow contractors who cut a very fat coupon out of this thing and it's worth an in-depth journalistic investigation.

  9. Very true, every word is true. A long time ago I wrote and said that the cable car goes from nowhere to nowhere.
    Access to it is difficult. There are almost no parking spaces.
    It doesn't stop at the many neighborhoods around it.
    It's a waste of time, the millions for its construction and the millions for its operation.

  10. Regarding the connection of Neve Shanan to the cable car, in my opinion, this is not too important in changing the scope of the sparse use - it will bring a few dozen more users. The Natza Dori bus to Nosh or through the tunnels is faster and more comfortable than the cable car

    • A megalomaniacal project. A means of transportation that goes mainly to the university and Technion is by definition intended for a specific population that does not study all year at these institutions. It was right to initiate a station in the center of Horeb, for example.

  11. The cable car failed - not in a small way, in a big way. Yaffe Nof knew very well that there was no demand because they conducted 3 different demand surveys and in all of them the result was similar. Students who work at Mat'am come by car in any case. The cable car can drive 2400 every hour. In practice, on school days, it doesn't even drive that number all day long. The cable car is a one-time attraction - what do you mean? You did it once, that's it. It's not a ski resort that you come to every year to use the cable car to go up to some peak to ski or get to the resort.

    The wave of tourist demand was due to it being a new thing. We love new iterations, and often move on to the next ones in line. Therefore, it is likely that the tourist use of it will also decrease greatly compared to the data of its first year - it opened in April 2022. There will be an additional peak of use during the holidays - which often brings domestic tourism known as 'bus tourism' or 'car tourists' and their contribution to the urban economy is good but not high, which is also why the small tourist use Does not make up for poor usage data all year round.

    The fact that there will be a cafe in the middle station will not make someone come to the cable car to experience a cafe. Those who come to the Hecht Museum and Metzpur University do not necessarily do so by cable car, they should remember that many tourists in Israel travel by bus and rental car and are not interested in this cable car. The cable car is also closed due to winds for many days and suffered from malfunctions that deterred passengers.

    Offers to sell his wagons and thus recover costs. Plan a bus route on Dori Road to the Technion and from the upper parking lot at the Technion to the university. Unlike the cable car in Pizdenavi, a bus drops the students off near the faculties and therefore saves a quarter of an hour's walk and is therefore a preferred method. Convert the cable car stations to emergency fire and rescue stations or cafes on campuses.
    There is no economic and transportation justification for the unfortunate cable car.

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