Transportation in Israel
The small country of Israel, with an ancient heritage and varied traditions is widely visited by tourists for its historic landscape and natural splendor. Transportation within the country involves short and convenient journeys. The national bus service and Israel Railways offer cost-effective transportation, enabling visitors to reach any destination without any hassle.
The Egged bus company is Israel’s national bus service, spanning a detailed route system within the country. In fact, it forms the major transportation mode for soldiers patrolling about the country. The buses are built according to the latest standards and are clean and convenient, with air-conditioned interiors. Egged buses run on local trips as well as inter-city trips; however Egged does not provide inter-city trips on Shabbat, the Jewish holiday(from the afternoon of Friday to the evening of Saturday).
Arab buses are not very fast, and are older compared to the Israeli buses; they run between Eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank regions. Dan Bus Company provides local and inter-city trips in the Gush Dan area, comprising Tel Aviv and its surrounding suburban areas. Private bus companies offer service in both Be’er Sheba and Nazareth. Bus services are uninterrupted and frequent, with reasonable fares.
Bus tickets are available at ticket booths of Israel’s central bus station, located in each of its cities and towns; they can also be purchased directly from the driver while starting the trips. Similar to the Egged buses, several others also do not operate on Shabbat. Students who can produce the international student cards are eligible for discounts for traveling on inter-city bus trips.
Israel State Railways services are convenient and inexpensive, coupled with an efficient railway network for passenger services. The main rail-route runs along the coastal region from Nahriya, reaching Ashkelon, between Be’er Sheba and Dimona, Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion airport, and Rehovot and Rishon LeZion. Students and senior citizens can avail discounts using the relevant cards.
Transportation by train is a better suggestion, as crowded traffic on roads can be avoided. Most trains also offer refreshment services including snacks and hot or cold drinks. Train tickets are available at the ticket booths or vending machines placed at the railway stations, and train services also do not operate on the Jewish holidays (Shabbat).
Share taxis, also known as sheruts form a popular mode of transportation within Israel, mainly because they operate on Jewish holidays (or Shabbat) too. They are usually thirteen-seater minivans, departing from taxi ranks, and operating between fixed routes. Service taxis or jitneys run on local and inter-city trips along bus routes. The taxi fares are also fixed, similar to buses, and many taxis run on 24/7 highway.
Taxicabs operate within the city, charging meter fares. Taxis can be booked over telephone or just stopped on the street by waving. Cars can be hired to cover more places in a short span of time, but they are expensive. Though private cars are not a good suggestion for Jerusalem and the bigger cities, they are a sensible option for traveling in Golan, Negev and Upper Galilee regions.
Internal flight services are offered by several companies, which operate between Eilat and Sde Dov Airport of Tel Aviv, Ben Gujrion Airport and Haifa, but flights are much expensive, compared to the other modes of transportation.