Buses are a common form of transportation in this country. To pay for a Jerusalem Egged bus or the light rail, you will need a green card known as a Rav Kav.
Where can I buy a Rav Kav?
In order to ride a bus, you need a card called a Rav Kav. You can no longer purchase one on the bus rather only at a Rav Kav center. If you go to an official Rav Kav office such as the one in Shefa Mall or Ramot Mall, bring your ID and you can get a personalized one for free. The advantage is that if you lose it, you should be able to recover any money you had on the card.
Once you have a Rav Kav, you need to make sure to keep filling it up with money so you don’t get stuck without enough to pay for a ride. You can no longer pay on buses, so if you are stuck with an empty Rav Kav on a bus you may just have to buy a new anonymous one and pay an extra 5 shekel. You can top up your Rav Kav at lots of stores (they’ll usually have a sign that says כאן ניתן לטעון רב קו ) and by the train stations. You can also top up your Rav Kav online.
How much is a bus fare in Jerusalem?
One bus fare in Jerusalem costs 5.90 shekel, but there are various ways of getting it cheaper. You can top up 30 shekel (at top up places only!) and receive 37.50 shekel of credit, or you can top up 50 shekel and receive 62.50 credit.
Another option is to buy a monthly bus pass. This costs around 213 shekel and lasts for an entire calendar month. So, if you buy one on the 20th of the month, you have less than 2 weeks left to use it.
Do kids go free on Egged buses in Jerusalem?
The rule is that children under the age of 5 don’t have to pay on buses – but there’s a catch. Only one child can go free per paying adult. So, if you’re travelling with 2 kids and no other adults, you’ll have to purchase two tickets.
However, if you get the child a photo Rav Kav at one of the centers, their bus fare is half price. That is, when you top up 30 shekel you will receive 60 shekel in credit – and bus fares are then deducted at the normal rate of 5.90.
How long is the ma’avar?
The Israelis have a great system called a ma’avar, a transfer. When you pay for your bus right (or light rail), you then get 90 minutes unlimited travelling on all buses and light rails in Jerusalem. So, if you need to take 2 buses and the train to get somewhere, you will only pay one fare. And if you’re running a quick errand, the ma’avar will often cover your return journey too.
Egged Bus Schedules
Egged buses are notoriously unreliable. Waiting at a bus stop can be a great way to strengthen your emunah that Hashem is truly the only One who can get you where you need to be, on time.
There is however a way to know when buses are predicted to arrive. Most bus stops have a screen telling you what times the buses are coming but if there’s no screen you could call this number: 0733733733 then press 1 (save it to your phone now!). They’ll ask you (automated) for the stop number (it says on the bus stop sign) and the number bus you want and after putting in the info it will tell you the what time the next few buses will arrive.
Egged bus routes
You can go onto egged.co.il to find details about the bus routes that you need, including the stops on each route and the estimated time of arrival at each stop.
For planning out your journey, some helpful travel apps are Google Maps and Moveit.
Riding an Israeli bus
Here are some common Hebrew words that may come in handy:
- נהג – Driver
- בבקשה – Please
- אני צריך/צריכה לקנות רב קו – I need to buy a Rav kav
- אפשר לפתוח דלת אחורית – Could you open the back door
- טע מתען – luggage compartment
- אני צריך/ה לרדת – I need to get off
- עצור -Stop
- תחנה – bus stop
- קו – line (bus line e.g. #3)
Don’t be afraid or intimidated by the bus drivers! As you’ve probably learned, manners in Israel are very different than in America. Be assertive and polite!
You probably see taxis all over Israel. It is strongly recommended to only take taxis that have a flag or sign showing that they’re part of a reliable company.
How much is a taxi in Jerusalem?
You have two options when it comes to paying a Jerusalem taxi:
The first is to go with the “moneh” – meter. It starts at a little above 10 shekel, and rises in increments of 30 agurot. It can be stressful watching those numbers go up while you’re stuck in traffic! Note that taxis are more expensive at night and on Friday afternoons, and most will charge extra for suitcases.
Alternatively, you can decide to pay with “mezuman (cash)” which means a set price that you decide before. Remember that taxi drivers often expect you to haggle with them and will set a higher price at first. Always ask if you can do it for at least 10 shekels less than their initial quote (depending on how high the quote was). If you’ve travelled the route before and know the expected cost, feel free to open the negotiations with your own offer – they will often accept it. Make sure to finalize the price before the journey begins. If they are being unreasonable, you may prefer to get out and wait for another taxi.
How do I get a taxi in Jerusalem?
Here are the main ways to get a taxi in Jerusalem:
Flag one down. Simply stand on the sidewalk and flag any taxi with a reliable sign down. When you get in, make sure to specify if you want to use the “moneh” or agree on a price beforehand.
Call a taxi company and order a cab. Most operators speak English although they’re often short on patience. Don’t let this intimidate you. Tell them where you’re located and where you need to go. If you want to pay by credit card make sure to specify. You could also ask them when your cab should arrive.
Use Gett. Gett is an amazing app that allows you to order taxis and pay for them through your credit card on file. Download the Gett taxi app here through the app store, sign up and you’re good to go.
What are some taxi companies in Jerusalem?
Here are a few reliable taxi companies and their numbers:
Bar Ilan 02-586-6666
Givat Shaul 02-656-6666
Ramot Alon 02-500-0000
The Jerusalem light rail is very convenient since the trains are pretty dependable and come every 5-10 minutes. Right now there is a light rail that runs from Heil HaAvir to Har Hertzel.
Travelling by Light Rail
In order to travel by light rail, you need a Rav Kav or a one-time ticket that is available for purchase at the light rail stations. If you’re using your Rav Kav make sure to validate your Rav Kav even if you have a transfer (if you’re on the ma’avar). If not, you could get a ticket.
Jerusalem Light Rail Map
See the image below for the a map of the Jerusalem light rail route.