Getting around Jerusalem
The Egged Cooperative (tel: +972 3 694 8888; www.egged.co.il) provides an inexpensive, efficient bus system within Jerusalem. All routes are based out of the central bus station at 24 Jaffa Road. Bus services run daily, except on Shabbat or Jewish holidays. Tickets are available from the driver.
Fares are discounted for children, students, the disabled and seniors. For ease of travel, you can buy a reloadable Rav Kav smartcard, which can be loaded with either a daily or a weekly fare that includes unlimited transport within the metropolitan area.
In addition, a modern light rail (tel: *3686, in Israel only; www.citypass.co.il) runs through the heart of Jerusalem, from Mount Herzl past the central bus station (on Jaffa Street), Mahane Yehuda Market, the Old City (Damascus Gate), to Ammunition Hill on the outskirts of town. It runs daily every 10 to 15 minutes, except for Shabbat hours.
Taxis are legally required to use the meter, however, travellers sometimes need to insist it be turned on. You can hail taxis in the street or book them in advance. Dozens of taxi companies ply Jerusalem’s streets, including Hapalmach Taxis (tel: +972 77 333 6368), which offers 24-hour services, including weekends and holidays. Tipping is not usual.
An alternative to a taxi or bus is the popular sherut. These shared taxis are minibuses that follow public bus routes; however, they allow you to get on and off anywhere on the journey. Some sheruts run on Shabbat and fares are slightly less than bus fares.
Driving in Jerusalem is fairly straightforward, although the city suffers from terrible congestion. For sightseeing or getting around the centre, it is recommended you walk, use buses or take the light rail. For access to the Old City, the Karta parking lot near Jaffa Gate is open six days a week.
Street parking is paid through parking cards. You can obtain these from street kiosks, post offices and petrol stations. Kerbside colours indicate where parking is permitted: blue and white mean parking is allowed with pre-paid parking cards only. Visitors should not park where there is any other kerbside colour as parking regulations are rigorously enforced.
The majority of car hire companies are located in central Jerusalem, but it is often cheaper to book your car from abroad or online. To hire a car, drivers must be at least 21 years old (although this varies depending on car category) and in possession of a full driving licence with at least two years' driving experience, insurance and an international credit card. Car hire companies will not allow hire cars to be driven into the Palestinian territories.
Eldan (www.eldan.co.il) is the main Israeli car hire company. International companies include Avis (tel: +972 2 624 9001; www.avis.co.il) and Hertz (tel: +972 2 623 1351; www.hertz.com).
Despite the hills and traffic, cycling is popular in Jerusalem. Rental companies include Bike Jerusalem (tel: +972 2 579 6353; www.bikejerusalem.com) and Abraham Tours (tel: + 2 566 0045; https://abrahamtours.com).