Should I get a Rav-Kav card?
Transport operators in Israel are gradually switching from paper tickets to the Rav-Kav smart card. In some areas of Israel you must hold a Rav-Kav card in order to be able to use a monthly pass or a discounted multiple ticket.
Not all transport operators have switched to Rav-Kav yet. Some transport operators use Rav-Kav only partially. So the decision depends on where in Israel you're planning to travel and what kinds of tickets you need. It's best to check with the bus operator (sadly, most of their websites are Hebrew-only).
If you're travelling in the Tel-Aviv area even for a few days, it is recommended that you get a Rav-Kav card.
For single tickets you never need a Rav-Kav card. You can always buy them from the bus driver.
What do I do with it?
Once you have a Rav-Kav card, you can use it to load contracts of different bus companies.
There is no need to get a separate Rav-Kav card for each company/contract, as you can load up to 8 different contracts onto the card.
What is a contract?
The term "contract" (hozeh, חוזה) means one of the following:
- A pass (daily/monthly etc, depending on the area and the bus company)
- A kartisiya (a multiple ticket that allows X journeys for a reduced price)
- An e-wallet
In order to load a contract onto the card or to load money onto an e-wallet contract, present your Rav-Kav card to a bus driver and pay in cash. At some service points you can also pay with a credit card.
Some contracts are only respected by one company. For example, a monthly pass in the city of Modi'in is only valid in Veolia. Therefore it can only be loaded onto the card in a Veolia bus or in a Veolia service center.
Other contracts are respected by multiple companies. For example, a monthly pass in Tel Aviv (zone 1) is valid in Egged, Dan, Kavim and Metropoline. Therefore this contract can be loaded onto the card in any bus of Egged, Dan, Kavim or Metropoline, or in their service centers.
Where do I get a Rav-Kav card?
How to get service for the card?
If your Rav-Kav card is lost or stolen, or if there are technical problems with it, you should go to a service point of the same company where the card was obtained. If you have a problem with a specific contract loaded onto the card, address the company where the contract was loaded.