Almost everywhere in Israel is accessible by public transportation! In fact, it’s often more convenient to reach your destination by leaving your car behind. In most Israeli cities, parking is a challenge. Using public transportation will also allow you to step out of your tourist bubble and experience the Holy Land as Israelis. Whether you’re traveling independently or taking advantage of free time as part of your organized tour, riding on a public bus is an excellent way to take in the sites that you would otherwise not see.
Starting from January 1st, 2016, a major transportation reform went into effect that makes using the Israeli system simple and affordable. With the use of a Travel Pass card called a “RAV KAV”, you can easily purchase a day pass that allows you to use any means of transportation, including buses, trains and light rails, in and between two destinations. For example, if one wants to travel from Tel Aviv to Haifa and stop anywhere along the way for lunch, shopping or other attractions, the price is fixed and there are no limitations on getting on and off all forms of transportation. The trains and buses from Tel-Aviv to Haifa offer spectacular views of the Carmel mountain range. Here’s an English site of bus schedules and prices covering destinations across Israel.
The Israel train that has lines from the Negev desert in the south to Rosh Ha’nikra on the Lebanese border in the north, is especially convenient and comfortable for north-south travel. The double-decked train has comfortable seats with tables in the middle, electric outlets and wide aisles. Seating is not assigned, which allows passengers to choose their perfect seats. The views from the top floor of the train are spectacular. Jerusalem has a fully functioning light-rail line that traverses the Holy City from Shaare Zedek hospital in the south-west, passing through the city center and next to the walls of the Old City from Jaffa Gate to Damascus Gate to the Pisgat Zeev neighbrohood in the north-east.
Within a few years, a high-speed train will carry passengers between Israel’s two largest cities, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, within 28 minutes! In addition, most of the greater Tel-Aviv area will be connected by a light-rail network. Israel has been nicknamed “Start Up Nation”, thanks to the title of a popular book about Israel’s incredible innovation and the hi-tech economy. Welcome to “Silicon Wadi”, where public transportation is no exception in this incredible land!