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Transport in Israel

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Thanks to the country’s extensive and well-developed road and public transportation network, getting around Israel is fast, easy and hassle-free. This article provides an overview of the different means of transportation available throughout the country.

Air transport in Israel

The country is home to over 40 airports, the busiest of which is no doubt the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. In addition to countless international flights, domestic connections between Eilat, Tel Aviv and Haifa are operated by several airlines.

 Useful links:

Arkia
Israir

Trains in Israel

The Israeli railways network and trains have recently been extended and overhauled. Accordingly, trains in Israel are modern, clean and comfortable. In addition to being equipped with amenities such as air-conditioned, they are reliable and frequent (some lines run 24/24), and quite affordable.

They span the country North to South and connect all major cities together. The line linking Ben Gurion Airport to Tel Aviv, Haifa and other cities is especially useful for visitors.

 Useful link:

Israel Railways (national train operator)

Buses in Israel

Buses and coaches represent the most extensive and popular travel option in Israel. Two main carriers operate routes throughout the whole country; Egged and Dan. A few smaller operators also operate inter-city and intra-city routes.

Inter-city buses run very frequently and connect not only cities, but also rural settlements.

Fares are generally fairly cheap: the most expensive trip, from Haifa in the north to Eilat in the south, costs about NIS 70.

Tickets can be bought from drivers on the bus or at ticket booths in bus stations. Alternatively, you can pay your fare with a Rav Kav electronic travel card, which is valid on most public means of transportation. A personal Rav Kav Card containing your personal information can be issued free of charge at Rav Kav service points, while an anonymous Rav Kav Card can be purchased for NIS 5 from bus drivers or sales points.

 Attention:

The vast majority of buses and trains do not run on Shabbat.

 Useful links:

Egged
Dan
Citypass

Private road transport in Israel

Sherut (shared taxi)

Sherut services are performed by mini-buses with a capacity of about 10 seats, following a fixed route along which they can drop passengers anywhere. They operate throughout the country, on both inter-city and local routes. Some of them run 24 hours a day, including on Shabbat, which makes sherut the most convenient and reliable way to get around.

 Good to know:

Taking a sherut is the most cost-effective way to get from the airport to the city.

Taxi

Taxis in Israel are quite cheap by Western standards. Official taxis are identified by a sign on the passenger-side window. To hail one in the street, wave down your index finger.

Some are equipped with a meter (monet) while other drivers will simply quote you a price, which you should always try to bargain.

 Good to know:

It is not customary to tip cab drivers in Israel.

City transport in Israel

The forms of transportation mentioned above are the most popular ways to get around within the cities, however a more recent form of transportation is on the rise in Israel.

A light rail system has been inaugurated in Jerusalem in 2011, the first of several in the pipeline, and another is under construction in Tel Aviv, slated for completion in 2021.

 Attention:

Jaywalking is strictly prohibited in Israel and you could get a ticket for crossing the street at a red light.

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