A bus is the cheapest way to get from Jerusalem to Ben Gurion International Airport. The cost of a one-way ticket to the airport is NIS 23 ($5-6), which includes a free transfer ticket ("kartis hemshekh") for the shuttle that takes you from the junction to the airport itself.
There are two airport buses: #950 (express, only in the morning) and #947. You can buy a ticket at the window in the bus station (upstairs, on the same level as the bus platforms) or on the bus (no need for exact change). Bulky luggage should be placed in the compartment under the bus as there are no overhead storage racks above the seats.
A bus leaves every 20 minutes or so from Platform 18 on the upper floor of the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, and the connecting shuttle (#5) arrives about 5 minutes after you get off the first bus. No walking involved but you do stand outside, which could be a problem in the rain.
Travel time using the express bus is about 45 minutes. The shuttle ride from the El Al junction is about 10 minutes. There are 2 stops inside Airport City before you get to the terminal itself.
This option may be inexpensive but it involves getting to the bus station, going through security, dragging luggage up the escalator, and then getting it on and off two buses. Is it worth it? I'm not sure. I think getting picked up at your address by a Nesher airport taxi for NIS 62 shekel is a better deal. But if you are a bus person, go for it.
Since I was in Israel in February which was very wet, I opted not to take the bus back to Ben Gurion airport since it involved a bus change at the El Al Junction and who wants to arrive for their flight looking like a drowned wet rat?
The next option was Nesher Taxi, they operate a Shared Van service or "Shurut" from your hotel/residence in Jerusalem to the airport. Call 24hours in advance and set up a reservation or if you are in a hotel, have the front desk do it for you.
The price was 50Sheckels so about double the cost of a bus. The added convenience was worth the extra money plus it was pouring the day I left Jerusalem so in my opinion, worth every sheckel spent.
The van showed up on time, the driver loaded our bags, we were the last two to board the van that holds 10 persons so my ride was only about 1 hour but if you are one of the first guests to be picked up you will be getting a tour of Jerusalem so plan accordingly and be prepared.
One of my favorite things to do when visiting a city for the first time is to take a double decker tour bus to give me a quick idea of the layout of the city and then I can go back and see more of something that caught my eye and not waste time on other parts.
The bus is run by Israel's Eg'ged bus company, look for the bright red double decker bus, you pay the driver in cash or major credit card, you are handed a pamphlet and set of mini earphones, find a seat, plug in and get ready to see "85 of the most remarkable sites in the city of Jerusalem" according to their pamphlet. The tour is pre recorded and in many languages.
I was lucky to score a seat at the front on top which has it's pro's and cons. The pro's is you can see everything that the driver does, the bad is you can see the crazy driving that takes place on the streets not to mention the very bold pedestrians who on more than one occasion walked in front of our fast moving bus to cross a street.
The tickets are good for 24 hours but another bonus is to use the ticket the next day as transportation to get to the other side of the city vs paying to ride the city bus.
I did my research or so I thought, and assumed that the bus from Ben Gurion Airport to Jerusalem would be nonstop if I went by bus. What I discovered is the bus requires a change but looking back, it wasn't that bad and the price was right.
After exiting customs, look for the signs above that read to "Busses" and take the escalators up two floors. Cross the first road and look for Bus #5 , this is the free bus that drives around the airport and the industrial parks that surround Ben Gurion airport and makes a stop at the "El Al Junction" which is the stop to get off and catch the #947 to Jerusalem.
Pay the driver on the #5 for the ticket all the way to Jerusalem, I paid NIS22.50. The ride to the connecting bus stop is about 10-15 minutes and maybe one or two stops while enroute. The driver spoke enough English to explain to me what needed to be done.
Once we arrived at the "El Al Juncction" the driver told me to follow two other passengers who were going to the bus stop for their connecting bus. This is where it got a little strange for me but I was in an industrial park area, lots of traffic, no sidewalks and once you cross the main highway you will see an open air bus shelter but most people are just standing on the side of the road waiting for their bus. This is probably the most informal bus stop I have ever seen but when in Rome................ Many busses make quick stops to pick up other people. Eventually my bus arrived, I asked the friendly driver what do I do about my large suit case, he popped open the luggage storage from his driver seat, I put my bag in, closed the door and boarded the bus. The bus was about 3/4 full, lots of single seats but the strange thing to me was how the people in the seats next to the empty ones had their stuff on the seat as if to say, "I want two seats, please don't sit here". I wasn't about to stand so I chose an empty seat, asked the person on her cell phone to please move her items and took a seat. This was my first experience in the necessity of being just a little pushy to get what you need/want while in Israel.
The bus ride took about 55 minutes, I think we had two quick stops enroute to let people off and then we pulled into the Jerusalem bus station on Jaffa road which is centrally located and easy to make other bus/taxi/sherut connections.
At the mention of the word "taxi" people's blood pressure goes up. "Watch out for those taxi drivers. They're all a bunch of crooks. They'll run you all over town and charge you an arm and a leg." That's the general attitude - and not only in Israel. Without going so far as to say that Jerusalem taxi drivers are saints, if you adhere to a few guidelines, traveling by taxi doesn't have to be a painful ordeal.
First of all, the Hebrew word for taxi is "moneet" - a word derived from that all-important feature of taxi cabs known as the "moneh" - the meter. By law, the driver has to put the meter on when you get in. Don't expect it to read "0."
As of this writing, the starting fare is NIS 11.10. There are two rates, one for daylight hours, and the other - 25% higher - for nighttime, Saturdays and holidays. Calling a taxi, as opposed to flagging one down in the street, adds another NIS 3.30.
Many drivers will immediately offer you a "special price" for the trip instead of turning on the meter. Unless you've gone that route before and know more or less how much it should cost, I would opt for the meter - BUT -and this is very important if you want to enjoy the trip - be pleasant about it. Ask for the meter to be put on nicely - not as if you're sure the guy is ripping you off. Taxi drivers are human beings, and this is also true of Israeli taxi drivers.
They are certainly nothing like the courteous cabbies you find in England. They won't open the door for you, or carry your luggage or double as a tour guide, but they are capable of being friendly. The main thing to remember is that they are very sensitive to being ordered around or spoken to like servants. And if you get on their good side, you stand a better chance of getting to where you want to go without "being taken for a ride."
Special advice for women traveling alone: Never sit next to the cab driver. This is the Middle East, ladies. It's always safer to sit in the back.
Hi fellow travelers
Just wanted to share a positive experience I had few days ago when I landed in Israel.
In one of my Google searches, I can across the Israel Taxi site - http://www.israeltaxi.net, which offered a transportation service from Ben Gurion Airport to any part in Israel.
After trying it myself, I can recommend you to try it too - I've traveled from Ben Gurion Airport to Jeruslaem in Zohar's taxi. Zohar was very friendly and his taxi was clear and convinient.
I've also used the Israel Taxi service once again when I traveled to Haifa few days later.
I wish you all a pleasant ride...
Coming to Israel from Egypt via the Taba border crossing is a reliable way of getting to Jerusalem. The border is open 24hrs every day and depending on how many people there are the security checks are pretty quick. I crossed the border at 6:00 AM after taking the night bus from Cairo and because there weren't very many people it took be about twenty minutes to go through the Egyptian and Israeli security checks. There were plenty of taxis waiting to take me from the border to the Eliat bus station. The taxis charged about 40 NIS. From the bus station there were numerous buses leaving for Jerusalem, the first bus leaves at seven and then ten. You can check the Egged website for current times. It takes about five hours to get to Jerusalem from Eliat by bus.
There is a bus (number 124) that leaves Jerusalem from the Arab bus station near Damascus Gate. The bus itself is small and can hold about 20 people. It cost 4 NIS and runs to the Bethlehem Checkpoint and back. You must travel through the checkpoint to reach Bethlehem. Make sure to bring a passport as your form of identification. From the checkpoint, you can either walk (as I did) or take a taxi to the centre of Bethlehem. The walk took me about 30 minutes from the wall to Manger Square (2-3km).
Returning to Ben Gurion from Jerusalem, I used the regular Egged bus service from the Central Bus Station on the north-western end of the Jaffa Road. I arrived at the bus station on a bus from Masada and we had to go inside and take the escalator up one floor to Departures at Level 3. Here the noticeboards display all destinations and departure gates clearly and finding your bus is relatively uncomplicated. There is a securtiy baggage check before you enter Departures but it's quick and non-intrusive. The bus station has plenty of shops and cafes to keep you busy if you have time to spare here.
The bus for Ben Gurion is the 947 to Haifa ( Via Ben Gurion) which departed from gate 20. You do have to change to a No. 5 bus, close to the airport but the same ticket does for both journeys. I was a little apprehensive about missing this stop but the driver and two fellow passengers reminded me in plenty of time.
Cost one-way is NIS 21 = approx EUR4.50
If you are planning to leave Jerusalem by coach from the central bus station, remember that there will be security checks at the entrance of the coach station - so make sure to plan in a few extra minutes for that (so that you don't miss your coach!).
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