The small country of Israel is east to get around and the public transport is convenient and reasonably-priced. Buses are by far the most popular form of public transport both within and between cities and different bus companies operate in different areas of the country with Egged being the company that operates most of the intercity bus lines, as well as local services in the biggest cities. There is also a train service which is convenient and relatively inexpensive. Taxis are more expensive and it is recommended to use shared-service taxis which work out much cheaper. There are also internal flights between Eilat and Ben Gurion Airport, Sde Dov Airport and Haifa but flights are more expensive than other forms of public transport.
Tickets can be bought at the central bus stations or directly from the driver. Most bus lines don’t run on Saturday (the national day of rest) or on Jewish holidays. Services end on Friday afternoons and resume Saturday evenings.
There are discounts for students who present an international student card when purchasing tickets.
Intercity buses are run throughout the country. Information about bus lines and schedules can obtained via the website http://www.egged.co.il/Eng/ or via the phone service. Each central bus station displays electronic boards with departure times and destinations and also has an information booth.
The Dan Bus Company operates in the Gush Dan region and in the Yehuda and Shomron region. Information can be obtained via their website http://www.dan.co.il/english/default.asp or from the telephone information center.
This is the company that operates the public buses in the city of Be’er Sheva. Information can be obtained at http://www.metrodan.com/ or from the telephone information center.
Nazareth Transport and Tourism
This is the operator of inter-city lines in the northern cities of Nazareth, Haifa and Karmiel as well as villages in the Galilee and international lines to Amman in Jordan and Sinai in Egypt. Their website is http://www.ntt-buses.com/
United Nazareth Buses
This is the bus service in the Nazareth metropolitan area. Their website: http://www.nazareth-unbs.com/
The provider of urban and inter-city lines in the north, between Zefat and Nahariya, as well as in the center between Hadera and Netanya. Visit their website: http://www.nateevexpress.com/
There is a website that can help you plan trips within Israel by accessing all possible means of public transport. Check them out at http://www.bus.co.il/otobusim/Front2007/homepage.asp?domain=bus.co.il&UserAgent=Mozilla%2F5%2E0+%28Windows+NT+6%2E0%29+AppleWebKit%2F537%2E4+%28KHTML%2C+like+Gecko%29+Chrome%2F22%2E0%2E1229%2E94+Safari%2F537%2E4&Design=2007&LanguageID=20
The trains are definitely more comfortable than the buses in Israel and in recent years the service has expanded to include more major cities. There are discounts for students and senior citizens on presentation of a student card and ID card respectively. Travelling by train obviously avoids the heavy traffic on roads. Trains run from Tel aviv to most large cities and tickets can be purchased either at ticket booths or at vending machines at the station. In addition, seats can be reserved in advance. Refreshments are sold on most trains. The trains do not run on Saturdays or on Jewish holidays.
Haifa Carmelit Subway Service
The Haifa Carmelit is the only subway in Israel, running from Paris Square in lower Haifa, stopping at five stations and ending at Gan Ha-Em in Merkaz HaCarmel.
There are local and intercity taxi services available throughout Israel. By law, fares are charged according to the meter within the city. Fares between cities are fixed by the Ministry of Transportation. Taxis can be ordered in advance by telephone or flagged down on the street.
There are additional charges for ordering a taxi in advance and for any luggage that isn’t hand luggage. Night rates are 25% more than normal rates and they begin at 9:01pm and end at 5:29am. Night rates are also used on Saturdays and holidays.
Although by law he driver must charge according to the meter on intra-city journeys, many drivers will try to convince you to pay a fixed price. Do not agree to this unless you know the rates!
A Share Taxi is known as a Sherut in Hebrew and refers to a service that falls between that of a taxi and that of a bus. They are smaller than buses, take passengers on fixed or semi-fixed routes without timetables but depart when all seats are filled. Their pick-up and drop-off points are much more varied than those of buses. The Sherut will coincide with bus routes and typically charge the same or slightly less than the equivalent bus fare. Some Sheruts operate on Saturdays.
There are also intercity Sheruts that often leave from central bus stations and arrive at a variety of cities. There are intercity Sheruts from Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Eilat, Tiberias, Be’er Sheva and Netanya.
Israel Airport Authority
Due to the small size of the country, the only internal flights that are worthwhile are between Eilat and Tel Aviv or Eilat and Haifa. While fares are reasonable, they are still much higher than those of buses. Private companies offer special flights from anywhere in the country.
There are a variety of international and local car rental companies at Ben Gurion Airport. It is highly recommended to reserve the car in advance from abroad. In order to rent, one must be over 21, hold a valid international driver’s license and an international credit card.
Driving in Israel is on the right side of the road. Most places have clear signage in Hebrew, English and Arabic.