The public transportation in Israel mainly consists of buses, although trains and domestic flights are also used. The buses are generally convenient and comfortable, but almost all the lines DO NOT operate on Saturday and Jewish holidays. This means there is almost no public bus service in Jerusalem from Friday late afternoon (1 hour before Saturday begins) to Saturday evening (1 hour after the Saturday ends).
It is strongly recommended to get a Rav-Kav transportation card as soon as you arrive in Israel. This card can be used nationwide on buses, trams and trains. The benefit of the card includes free transfer within 90 minutes on urban bus lines and trams, 15% discount upon purchasing 10 tickets for urban lines, and 15% discount when purchasing 2 tickets (of the same fare, not necessarily round-trip or for the same route) on inter-city routes. Just bring your passport and you can get the card at Central Bus Station free of charge. After receiving the student card, you may bring it with the student certificate (לימודים) printed from the university website to the same place and update student discount. This gives you 33% discount on urban routes (upon purchasing 15 tickets) and inter-city routes (upon purchasing 2 tickets). The Rav-Kav card can be reloaded at buses (from the driver by cash) and tram stations (on the machine by cash or credit card).
The taxi service (“Monit”) is available every day. Usually it is not difficult to get a taxi on the street if you are in the city, but you may also call the taxi companies (Rehavia: 02-6222444; Beit Hakerem: 02-5000101; HaPisga: 02-6421111; HaPalmach: 02-6793333; Bar Ilan: 02-5866666; Romema: 02-5385555) for booking with a surcharge of 5.2 NIS. An extra 4.9 NIS is charged for every additional person (age 5 and above) when there are more than two people in the car. The driver is also permitted to charge 4.4 NIS per luggage item. There is also 25% surcharge for night and Saturday/holidays. You may negotiate price with the driver, but it is strongly recommended to take the meter. It is generally safe to take authorized taxis. If you use the meter, you can always ask for a receipt (the majority will give you even before asking).
Travel in Jerusalem
Egged operates most of the bus lines in Jerusalem. For routes and schedule information please check: www.egged.co.il. There is a tram line from Mt. Herzl to Heil Ha-Avir through the City Center and East Jerusalem. The direction of the bus is shown on the bus stop and on the bus, although it may only be in Hebrew. Before boarding a bus, make sure that it goes to the correct direction.
We strongly recommend the mobile app “Moovit”! It shows real-time information of bus arrival time, and you may use it for planning a trip. The software supports Apple and Android systems, but is currently only available in Hebrew.
Most of the inter-city routes departing from Jerusalem are operated by Egged. For the routes operated by other companies please check www.bus.co.il. For train services across Israel, please check Israel Railways website: www.rail.co.il. The train station of Jerusalem is close to Malha Mall. A train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv takes 1.5 h, but the Ottoman-era railway is scenic. The inter-city bus and train tickets (except for the buses to/from Eilat) do not require advance booking, and the bus tickets can be purchased from the driver. Arkia and Israir operate domestic flights from Ben-Gurion Airport, Sde Dov Airport in Tel Aviv and Haifa Airport to Eilat.
Travel on Saturday (Saturday)
There is a convenient shared taxi service (“Sherut”) connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv running all the time (except Yom Kippur High Holiday). It departs from Ha-Nevi’im street/Monbaz street or at the end of Ha-Nevim street, in front of Damascus Gate. The trips cost a bit more than the regular bus, and extra fees are applied on Saturday and holidays. The Sherut brings to Central Bus Station of Tel Aviv, which is a hub for Sherut to other cities.
Travel to Ben-Gurion Airport
Bus line 947/950 can bring you from Central Bus Station in Jerusalem to El Al Junction (צומת אל על), where you may transfer to airport line 5 with the same ticket (costs 25 NIS as of Aug. 2015). Another convenient way is to take shared taxi operated by Nesher, which also operates at night and on Saturday/holidays (costs 65 NIS as of Aug. 2015). You can book it by phone (02-6257227) one day before your flight. It will take you from your residence and bring you to the airport. Private taxi to the airport costs ~280 NIS during the day and ~350 NIS at night or on Saturday/holidays.
Travel between Campi
There is a shuttle service between Mt. Scopus and Edmond J. Safra Campus (Givat Ram) for HUJI students. It operates only during the semester and the schedule can be found in Hebrew: http://studean.huji.ac.il/?cmd=life.90 Line 42 is an express bus connecting Mt. Scopus, Givat Ram and Ein Kerem campi, but it is infrequent (about once every hour). Line 68 goes from Mt. Scopus to Givat Ram and Line 19 goes from Mt. Scopus to Ein Kerem.
Travel to West Bank
There are Arab buses to West Bank from Damascus Gate. Line 201 goes through student dormitories in Mt. Scopus to Damascus Gate. Line 218/219 goes to Ramallah and line 231 goes to Bethlehem. These lines also operate on Saturday. Do remember to bring your passport when traveling to West Bank!