Public transport in Israel

Buses in Israel

Buses constitute the core of Israel's public transport network, up to he point that to most Israelis "public transport" and "buses" are synonyms. Israel boasts an extensive bus network that reaches almost every village throughout the country, and every neighborhood of every town. All buses are air-conditioned and they usually comply with the latest European emission standards.

Traditionally there were two big bus operators in Israel – Egged (throughout Israel) and Dan (in the Tel Aviv area), as well as some small ones in Nazareth and Be'er Sheva. Over the 2000's the ministry of transport has led reforms and opened many of Dan and Egged's bus lines to franchising, bringing the number of bus operators to 16 (as of 2011). Although the ministry of transport regulates the timetables and routes for all operators, the division into multiple operators largely affects customers. Passengers are affected by operator-specific limitations on transit passes, differences in service level and the lack of a good unified information service.

Every bus company operates its own website and call center, some of which also provide information in English and in Russian. In 2010 the ministry of transport inaugurated Call Kav – a unified information system for bus and rail transport, including a website, a call center and an SMS service. So far the website is Hebrew-only, and being operated by Egged, the "Call Kav" system gives an inherent preference to routes involving Egged bus lines over bus lines of other operators.

Buses in Tel Aviv · Buses in Jerusalem · Buses in Haifa

Trains in Israel

Developed mostly in the time of the British Mandate, the Israeli rail network was stalled until the 1990's, when the overcrowded highways accounted for the need to develop rail transport. Israel Railways operate intercity lines along the Mediterranean coast as well as to Be'er Sheva and Jerusalem, and suburban lines in the areas of Tel Aviv, Haifa and Be'er Sheva. A 24/61 railway line connects Tel Aviv, Haifa and Nahariya with the Ben Gurion International Airport.

Other means of transportation

Moniyot sherut (singular: monit sherut, meaning "service taxi", known in some other countries as shared taxis, jitneys, colectivos or combis) are minibuses running on some local and intercity routes in addition to the regular bus service. Most service taxis have a permanent route but do not have permanent stops or schedule, leaving from the terminal when full and stopping anywhere along the route by request. Bus or rail passes are not valid on service taxis (a few service taxi operators have their own passes), and very rarely do they provide the only option to get from place to place. Service taxis are most useful when travelling at night or during the Shabbat, when most bus lines are inactive. For example, during the Shabbat and holidays service taxis provide the only way to travel between Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa and Nahariya.

The first line of the Jerusalem light rail was opened in August 2011. The light rail is free of charge during the first months of operation.

The only underground railway line in Israel exists in Haifa. It is a funicular railway named Carmelit.2 It is not fully integrated into the bus tariff system, but a transfer ticket from the Carmelit to buses, as well as a common monthly pass including the Carmelit and buses, can be bought at Carmelit stations.

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