Welcome to Israel! To ensure a seamless journey, here’s all you need to know about transportation and staying away from any unexpected costs. This guide will take you through public transportation payments and navigation, Taxies, basics of car rental, navigating the roads and streets in Israel, parking and bike rentals. Stay seated and enjoy the ride!
Generally, public transportation in Israel is notably cost-effective compared to Europe, and it often boasts reasonable frequency in various locales.
Explore our guide to discover the best ways to maximize your experience with public transportation in Israel.
Types of public transportation
- Buses: Extensive network covering cities and towns.
- Trains: Connects major cities efficiently.
- Light Rail: Available in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
- Metronit: is a bus rapid transit system (designed to offer fast, efficient, and comfortable service similar to light rail or metro systems) in the Haifa area.
- Haifa’s Cable Car: connects the bay area with the Technion and Haifa university.
Paying for public transportation can be done in 2 ways in Israel by apps (with official permission from the ministry of transportation) or a rechargeable magnetic card, called the Rav Kav.
We highly recommend going with the apps because you can get better rates using the app and with the card you need to make sure you always have money on the card.
If you choose to go with the Rav Kav card, all major stations will have stands to charge (add money) them as well as many kiosks around the country. They usually have a sign with the logo “Rav Kav”.
Paying for transportation with an app
- Bus: Look for the QR code next to the doors or inside the bus and scan with the app.
- Light rail: Start a new ride, choose light rail and start the ride.
- Train: Start a new ride and pick a station. You will get a QR code that you scan when going through the gate at the station. When you get off the train you end the ride and get a new QR code to scan at the exit as you pass through the gate.
Moovit is a popular public transportation app with over 80 million users in over 3,400 cities around the world, including Israel. It provides real-time information about bus, train, and light rail schedules in Israel, as well as other features such as:
- Live directions with Get Off Notifications: Moovit will tell you exactly when and where to get off the bus, train, or light rail so you don’t miss your stop.
- Trip planning: Moovit can help you plan your trip by showing you the best route and how long it will take.
- Multimodal trip planning: Moovit can help you plan trips that combine multiple modes of transport, such as buses, trains, and light rail.
- Fare information: Moovit can show you the fares for different modes of transport in Israel.
- Saved places: You can save your favorite places to Moovit so you can easily find directions to them later.
- Service alerts: Moovit will notify you of any service disruptions so you can be prepared.
- Accessibility information: Moovit provides information about the accessibility of different modes of transport in Israel.
Moovit is a great way to get around Israel if you are using public transportation. It is easy to use and has a lot of useful features.
Here are some additional tips for using Moovit in Israel:
- Make sure your phone is connected to the internet (you need to have a data package plan from your cell phone provider) when you are using Moovit.
- Enable location services on your phone so that Moovit can show you your real-time location.
Check for service alerts before you start your trip so you are aware of any disruptions.
- You pay the best rate with the app – at the end of the month the app will calculate the best tickets to purchase to get the lowest cost based on the different daily/weekly pass available.
- Beware traveling time may be slightly off, so don’t plan last minute, always allow extra time.
The HopOn app is a popular tourist app that offers hop-on, hop-off bus tours in Israel. With HopOn, you can explore major cities like Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Haifa at your own pace, getting on and off the bus at designated stops whenever you want.
Here are some of the things you can do with the HopOn app in Israel:
- Purchase tickets: Buy tickets for HopOn tours directly through the app.
Plan your route: View the tour map and plan your stops using the app’s interactive features.
- Track your bus: See the real-time location of your HopOn bus and estimated arrival times at stops.
- Access audio commentary: Listen to informative audio commentary in multiple languages while you’re on the bus.
- Get discounts and promotions: Enjoy exclusive discounts and promotions offered through the HopOn app.
- Charge the Rav Kav card if you have an NFC chip in your phone.
There are other apps for paying on public transportation but these are the 2 most popular and recommended ones
Spotting a taxi in Israel is relatively easy, as they are readily available in most parts of the country, especially in urban areas.
Taxis will have a yellow cap on the roof of the car reading taxi מונית
Always ensure the taxi has a meter and that it is used during your journey. Negotiate the fare in advance if the taxi doesn’t have a meter.
Unfortunately, taxi scams are not unheard of in Israel. Be sure to use a reputable taxi company, negotiate the fare clearly, or use an app for ordering a taxi. That way all the tracking including distance, time of travel and payment are through the app.
Gett and Yango
Israel does not have Uber but it does have Gett and Yango
With Gett or Yango, you can request a taxi or private driver directly to your location and track their arrival time. The app also provides a variety of other features, including:
- Fare estimates: The apps provides upfront fare estimates so you know how much your ride will cost before you book it.
- Multiple payment options: You can pay for your ride with cash, credit card, or through the app’s wallet.
- Driver ratings and reviews: See ratings and reviews from other passengers to help you choose the best driver.
- Real-time tracking: Track your driver’s location in real time and see their estimated arrival time.
- Ride history: View your past rides and receipts.
Renting a car can be a convenient way to explore Israel and its many tourist attractions.
Here are some essential things to know about car rentals in Israel as a tourist:
- Book in advance: Especially during peak seasons, securing a rental car in advance is crucial to ensure availability and potentially better rates.
- Compare prices: Explore different rental companies to compare prices and find the most suitable option for your budget and needs.
- Understand insurance options: Car rental companies in Israel offer various insurance options. Carefully review the coverage provided by each option and choose the one that best suits your needs.
- Parking: Be aware of parking regulations in cities. If you get a parking ticket, car companies will charge a service fee as well.
- Toll Roads: Be aware of toll roads, Route 6 and Route 6 North, car companies tend to charge an additional service fee if you travel on toll roads.
Renting a bike in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv can be a fantastic way to explore these vibrant cities for several reasons:
- Efficient City Exploration: Biking allows you to navigate through city streets efficiently, easily reaching popular attractions, markets, and cultural sites.
- Eco-Friendly Travel: Biking is an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, contributing to sustainable and green tourism.
- Local Experience: Riding a bike immerses you in the local atmosphere, letting you experience the city from a unique perspective and interact with locals.
- Traffic Avoidance: In congested city centers, bikes can often maneuver through traffic more easily than cars, helping you avoid delays.
Metrofun and Jerufun
Metrofun or Jerufun are bike-sharing services that operate in several cities in Israel, mainly Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It is a great way to get around these cities cheaply and conveniently.
Metrofun or Jerufun run on the same technology but are separate services.
Metrofun is for the Tel Aviv area and Jerufun is for Jerusalem.
Here are some things to know about renting a bike from Metrofun or Jerufun:
- How to rent a bike: To rent a bike, you will need to download the Metrofun or Jerufun app and create an account. You can then find a bike station near you and scan the QR code on the bike to unlock it.
- Returning a bike: To return a bike, simply find a bike station near you and dock the bike in an empty slot. There will be a green light if the bike is docked correctly.
- Helmet: Helmets are not required by law in Israel, but Metrofun recommends that you wear one. The bikes have Helmets that can be released through the app.
- Stations: the apps and websites have a full list and maps of all the stations you can rent a bike from.
Cost: if you don’t get a subscription plan you will pay for unlocking the bike and by the minute. The price may change between the different cities, the type of bike you rent (regular or electric) and on weekends. Weekends are from Friday / holiday eve at 14:00 until Saturday/end of the holiday at 19:00
There are many other options to rent a bike in Israel but they are private places and not available to rent off the street at any time of the day.
Traffic and Parking
Waze is a cutting-edge navigation app that stands out for its real-time traffic data and user-driven community features. Here’s what you need to know:
- User-Powered Traffic Updates: Waze relies on a community of users to report and update real-time traffic conditions, accidents, and road closures.
- Dynamic Route Optimization: Waze dynamically adjusts your route based on real-time traffic data, ensuring you reach your destination efficiently. It provides alternate routes to help you avoid traffic jams and delays.
- Points of Interest: Discover nearby points of interest, including gas stations, restaurants, and attractions.
- Voice-Guided Navigation: Enjoy turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation for a hands-free and safe driving experience.
Choose from various voices, including celebrity options.
- Parking Assistance: Find parking spots with ease and get information on parking availability and prices in some areas.
- Offline Maps: Download maps for offline use, ensuring navigation even in areas with limited connectivity.
- Community Engagement: Waze encourages community interaction with features like reporting accidents, hazards, and police presence.
- Safety Alerts: Receive alerts about potential safety hazards, speed traps, and road conditions, enhancing your awareness.
The Pango app is a versatile transportation and payment solution app widely used in Israel. It offers a range of features to make navigating the country and managing your finances easier. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, the Pango app can be a valuable tool for your travels.
Key Features of the Pango App:
- Pay for parking: Easily pay for street parking, parking lots, and parking garages throughout Israel.
- Extend parking sessions remotely: No need to rush back to your car; extend your parking session from anywhere using the app.
- Receive parking reminders: Set reminders to avoid parking tickets.
Manage multiple vehicles: Link multiple vehicles to your Pango account for convenient parking management.
Pay for fuel at Sonol stations: Make contactless fuel payments at Sonol gas stations.
If you have an electric vehicle you can pay at the chagrin stations through the app.
Toll Road Payments:
Pay for toll road passages: Settle toll road fees directly. Car rental companies will charge a service fee if you travel on toll roads with out paying.
- Purchase bus tickets: Buy bus tickets within the app for seamless travel on Israeli buses.
- Plan your journey: Use the app’s integrated journey planner to find the best route and schedules for your public transportation needs.
- Real-time bus tracking: Track your bus’s location and estimated arrival time in real-time.
The Cello app, previously known as cellopark, is a multi-purpose mobile application that offers a variety of features for Israeli residents and visitors alike. It is designed to simplify daily tasks and provide access to a wide range of services, making it a valuable tool for anyone living or traveling in Israel.
Some of the functions may be available only with a payment plan – basic parking functions are all in the free plan
- Parking management: Find and pay for parking spaces, extend parking sessions remotely, receive parking reminders, and manage multiple vehicles.
- Ridesharing services: Book taxis, private drivers, and ride-sharing options with major providers like Gett and Yango through the Cello app.
- Public transportation: Plan journeys, track bus routes and real-time arrival times, and purchase bus tickets directly through the app.
Google maps – good for walking driving cycling and public transportation
Israel offers a variety of transportation options to suit different needs and budgets. By following these tips and using the available resources, you can navigate the country efficiently and enjoy a hassle-free travel experience.
Enjoy the ride!