TEL AVIV 2019
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Tel Aviv's (and Israel's) main entry point for the international traveller is Ben Gurion International Airport. It is located 15 km away from the city in the town of Lod. A further 20 min drive is needed to get to Tel Aviv. This trip can be done by train or taxi from Ben Gurion airport. There is no direct bus or sherut taxi to Tel Aviv from Ben Gurion, although travelling by bus is possible.


Important Note: During Shabbat you will have a hard time reaching/leaving the airport, especially taking the bus. Trains also do not operate on the Jewish Shabbat (approximately from 16:36 on Friday to 21:15 on Saturday). Taxis go however, but might charge you extra due to Shabbat time. Best not to have a flight between Friday 15:00 and Saturday 20:00 into/from Israel.


The airport train station is easily accessible from Level G in Terminal 3, same level as Arrivals - when you get out of the gate just walk left and follow signs. Terminal 3 and Terminal 1 of the airport are connected with free internal bus service. Direct trips to Tel Aviv take about 15 min and cost about NIS 13.50 one-way. Buy a ticket from the cashier or from an automatic machine, and use it to enter the platform area. Keep the ticket for use to exit the electronic gate at your arrival station. The train service operates around the clock on weekdays, with 3 trains per hour most of the day (as of July 2018 they leave at :05 and :35) and one per hour at night. Trains to the stations in the centre of Tel Aviv leave from platform 2, heading for Nahariya. All trains stop at all four Tel Aviv stations during the day, while late night trains stop only at Tel Aviv Merkaz/Savidor station. The stations are, in order of arrival from the airport (south to north): Tel Aviv HaHagana (near the central bus station) (8 min travel), Tel Aviv HaShalom (near the Azrieli Centre shopping mall) (13 min), Tel Aviv Merkaz/Savidor (Central Railway Station) (18 min), Tel Aviv University (next to the Eurovision venue: Tel Aviv EXPO) (25 min). For most travellers, HaShalom or Merkaz/Savidor would be the place to disembark, being close to most hotels and sights.

Currently, trains from Friday (00:20) (The night between Thursday and Friday) until Sunday (04:45) are replaced by a Free Shuttle bus service. But it is not expected to be in operation in May.

Taxis are the most comfortable and expensive way to reach the city centre, with a typical ride price of around 140 to 175 NIS (the higher fare applies at night time until 5:30am, an additional surcharge applies for each suitcase and a third passenger). Taxis are required by law to use the taxi meter, and a typical ride to the city centre should not take more than 20-30 min, without heavy traffic. Do not accept fix-priced rides with taxi drivers unless you're sure of what you are doing; you will usually end up paying more than you could have had you asked to use the meter. You should notify your taxi driver in advance if you'd like to pay by credit card. At the airport, you can order a taxi on the street at the exit from the Terminal at a regular price, or at a taxi station on one of the floors of the parking lot - where the prices are at a discount, but you have to search for it with the luggage, which is not always convenient. An alternative to airport taxis are taxi hailing apps such as Gett and Raxi, however you may end up waiting longer and paying the same. Taxis called through the app can take passengers only at another special parking lot.

You may save a few shekels by taking buses rather than the train to Tel Aviv, but you will lose lots of time and likely get yourself lost. From outside the terminal, take Egged's Line 5 to El Al road junction ("Tzomet El Al"), and from there take a second bus to Tel Aviv. The line 5 stop is located on Level 2 (Public Transport Level) at Terminal 3. The last line 5 bus leaves the airport at 21:55, and in the opposite direction from El Al Junction—at 21:15 (estimated). When going to the airport, ask the driver for a ticket that includes access to line 5, in order to avoid paying an extra fare for that line.

TRANSPORT


Tel Aviv has a modern, regular, cheap and widespread bus network run mostly by Dan. Bus services start at 05:00 and stop at midnight, though some lines stop earlier, so do check. There are night buses that run until 3:30 (Thursday and Saturday nights all year, and in addition Sunday to Wednesday nights during the summer). Suburban lines are operated by Egged, Metropoline and Kavim. Note that the majority of public transportation in Israel does not run on the Sabbath, beginning on Friday afternoon until Saturday evening.

Single tickets within the city and the close suburbs (Bat Yam, Holon, Ramat Gan, Bney Brak, Givatayim, Petah Tikva, Kiryat Ono) cost NIS 5.90. Rides to northern suburbs (Herzliya, Ramat Hasharon, Kfar Saba, Ra'anana) cost NIS 9.30. Note that as of December 2018, cash payments in buses in Tel-Aviv will be phasing out.

Instead of paying cash, one would need buy a public transit smart card called Rav-Kav. This card can serve as an e-wallet, offering a 25% discount on the bus fare. You can charge it with NIS 30/ NIS 50/ NIS 100, and receive 37.50/ 62.50/ 125. In addition, paying with a Rav-Kav allows you free transfers within the Tel-Aviv metropolitan area for 90 minutes. Alternately, you can use the card to buy a day-pass (calendar day) for NIS 13.50, a 7 day pass for NIS 64 or a monthly pass (calendar month) for NIS 213. If purchased at a train station, you can buy a flexible 30-day pass. If you buy a daily, weekly or a monthly pass for the appropriate metropolitan area transport zones, the pass is valid for both bus and train travel within these included zones. E.g. in Tel-Aviv if you get a day or week pass that covers both Zone 1 and Zone 2 (Gush-Dan Extended, sharing symbol 142), you can use it for unlimited travel on buses and between all train stations that are included in those zones as long as your day or week pass is valid.

An 'Anonymous' Rav-Kav can be purchased at the bus terminals and train stations, or directly from the bus driver for NIS 10. The card can be recharged in the above locations, or from the convenience of your NFC-enabled Android smartphone, with the official Rav-kav app For more information on the Rav-Kav and pricing, see here. Several mobile apps will prove helpful for planning your commute, offering real time data and a trip planner. Moovit, EfoBus and Google Maps are some that you should consider.

One can get personal card at Rav-Kav stands at Tel Aviv train and major bus stations and other service points. Make sure to bring a valid I.D.card. Tourists are not entitled to personal discounts on a personal Rav-Kav such as for senior citizens, so the only difference is that you save NIS 10, but loose some time at the stand.

The most popular bus route in the city is bus number 5, which connects the Central Bus Station (departure from 4th floor, westernmost platform) in the south with the Central Train Station. It goes through Rothschild Boulevards, Dizengof Street (Including the Dizengof Center Mall), Nordau Boulevard, Pinkas/Yehuda Maccabi Street and Weizman Street or Namir Road. The number 4 bus is also convenient. It runs north from the Central Bus station through Allenby road and Ben Yehoda street. Another popular bus route is number 18, connecting the Central Train Station with the southern neighbourhoods of Jaffa and Bat-Yam. It also has a stop at Rabin Square. Route 100 is a tourist-oriented route which passes by tourist sites all across Tel Aviv. It begins its route on the hour Su-Th 09:00-16:00, F 09:00-13:00, does not run Saturday). Other than these lines, Tel Aviv has more than 400 Intra-city lines. Many buses start/finish their ride at the CBS or the 2000 terminal ("Arlozorov terminal"). Most buses are suburban buses and drive to adjacent cities where they finish their ride. Other important terminals are Reading terminal, Carmelit terminal and to a lesser extent Atidim terminal, Ezorei-Hen terminal, University train station terminal and Kiryat Hinukh Terminal.

The Sherut Taxis - yellow minibuses run on bus routes 4 and 5 (but these taxis don't reach the train station), 16, 51 and 66. They cost about the same as the bus (NIS 6.50 on regular day; on Shabbat more expensive), and they run on the Shabbat too. They may not stop unless you flag them down, which you can do anywhere along their route - not just at a bus stop. You pay when you have found your seat, by passing the fare to the person in front of you who will pass it along to the driver. You must tell the driver when you want him to stop. Passengers are not allowed to stand.

When travelling by train you should buy a ticket at the box office or in the ticket machine. Machines operate in English and Hebrew. Choose the destination station, the age of the passenger (retired/child/adult) and the number of tickets. The machines accept all major bank cards for the payment without additional fees. Online tickets can be purchased only by holders of personalized Rav-Kav cards. The ticket must be kept until the end of the trip. The exit from the station is possible only with a valid ticket, which must be inserted into the turnstile upon exit. Please note that at the entrance to each station there is a security control.

You can hail a taxi in the street or call one (with extra surcharge NIS 3.30). Taxis are obliged to give you a metered ride unless you settle for a price, so insist that the driver use the meter, unless you are sure what the price to your destination should be. A local ride without meter should be NIS 20-30 in the downtown core, and up to 50 or 60 to the immediate suburbs. Cutting a deal in advance is especially recommended on Friday night and Saturday, when there is a surcharge. Plus, if you get stuck in Tel Aviv's notorious traffic, you won't sit there watching your money tick away.

SOURCE: ESCKAZ

    


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