Bus or Taxi, Jerusalem
If arriving into Jerusalem by bus and staying in the Old City, you might want to consider taking a taxi. It will cost 35 shekels in good weather and/or non-rush hour times. If it is rush hour or it is raining, it will likely cost you 50 shekels.
To get to Jerusalem from Cairo, take the 10:15 p.m. bus offered by the East Delta Company. You will arrive at the Taba bus station around 6 a.m. You will have to walk about 400 meters to the border. It will take between 45 minutes and an hour to get through customs. Once on the Israeli side, you will have to take a taxi to Eilat. It will cost 35 shekels, which is about $9. From Eilat, there are four direct buses to Jerusalem. The first one leaves at 7 a.m. and takes about four hours to get to Jerusalem. It passes through the Negev desert, then travels along the Dead Sea. It stops at a few of the Dead Sea resorts and Masada.
Other departure times are 10 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. Buses in the reverse direction leave at the same time.
The city of Jerusalem has been joined together since 1967, but it still feels, and in many ways acts, as two separate cities. This is particularly obvious in the transport system, which consists of two separate systems: Arab and Israeli. They both have separate bus stations. The Israeli central bus station is a grand building of polished glass and concrete. The Arab bus station is a dusty disorganised mess of run down buses just off Damascus Gate.
Which system you use depends on whether your destination is in East or West (New) Jerusalem. Either way, the system is inexpensive, and you can pay the driver when you get on.
If you came on the bus from Eilat, the bus station in Jerusalem is in a Mall. From here, exit the Mall, walk across the street to take a bus or cab to the old city. If you only have a small knapsack you can walk straight down the road passing old architecture, the Ben Yahuda shopping area, many shops and restaurants. When you see the Old CIty Walls, continue to Jaffa Gate. Just inside the Gate is a tourist info centre if you are lucky enough to get there before it closes.
From Aqaba, take a taxi to the Wadi Arava/Eilat border crossing for 5JD, Departure Tax is 5JD. The money exchangers in Aqaba give a good exchange rate from the JD to the Shekel. (15.5JD = 100Shekels). Note: This border closes early at 8:00pm and Israeli Exit Tax is 74Shekels.
WARNING: Make sure you have the correct change - because your taxi driver may pretend not to have any or enough, leaving you short changed.
After the border crossing in Eilat, take a taxi for 20Shekels to the Bus Station, ask the taxi driver to turn the meter on. The bus fare to Jerusalem is 65Shekels. I caught the one at about noon, the trip is about 4-5 hours and makes one stop at a take out place to get burgers, chips, soda, coffee....and a small convenience store. There is an earlier one near 9:00am and afternoon buses as well. The drive through the Negev Desert and along the Dead Sea passing the resorts and Masada is beautiful.
Buses to Taba, The Dead Sea, Tel Aviv and more....are available from this Bus Station.
Like in London Jerusalem has a red bus that will show you some of the main attractions of the city.
This is an Egged bus and the number of the bus is 99.
There are more than 20 stations and you can get down and return wheneever you want.
A ticket will cost you 45 nis.
some of the stations are :
Mahne Yehuda market , the Davidka square , Jaffa gate , Safra square , Herzl mountain , Yad va shem and more.
You can hear explanations in english , hebrew , arabic , russian , french , german and more.
The tour starts in the central station.
There are two Arab bus stations, just outside the walls in Eastern Jerusalem. From Damascus Gate, turn to the right and cross Suleyman street. After a few hundred metres there is a bus station; from here, there are busses leaving for Bethlehem.
Taxis are readily available. But don't just get in and assume it'll take you where you want to go. Oh, it'll get you there, but if you don't settle on a price first, you'll get there for 2x what you should be paying! So just make sure you work out a price with the driver before you get in to go. They are very reliable. And for some reason, they'll all ask if you want to go to Bethelhem. I think it's because they want to make more money in one trip. (Note, Bethelhem is Muslim primarily. Jews won't enter due to dangers to them... at least my tour guide wouldn't - and he said he'd set me up with a Muslim tour guide to take me if I was interested). Many of the taxi drivers around Old City are Muslim. It doesn't matter... they're all just people trying to make a living.
A friend of mine who lives in Jerusalem gave me the phone number of this Radio Taxi service. It is very reliable (no overcharging), run by Jewish people and has exclusively Jewish drivers, and they usually speak English.
It is very important not to hail a taxi from the street, both because they might cheat you and also because you don't know what they might do to you. I heard a story about a Japanese friend of a friend who was almost abducted by a taxi driver he hailed from the street to go to the Mount of Olives.
It is best to go somewhere where they have a phone, call this radio taxi and wait. I think they charge you 1 Euro extra for calling them up.
Jersualem still is a divided city. You will realize this when you try to go from the Israeli western to the Palestinian eastern part of town by taxi.
As long as you find an Arab taxi driver you should be ok. But when you try to go to some eastern part of Jersualem with an Israeli Jewish taxi driver he or she will most likely refuse to cross the Road Numer One (former border between Israel and Jordan before the 1967 war).
In the past Jewish-Israeli taxidriver have been attacked by Palestinian Arabs there and some still are afraid.
So ask before hand if she/he really will drop you off at the right place before you will have a frightened cabdriver at your side (this happended to me once).
By the way: The only place taxis go easely into the East is French Hill and Mount Scopus (Hebrew University). Anyways, you shouldn't pay lot more then 20 NIS for the ride - that's the usual price.
As from today there's a new service in Jerusalem, a Real tourist bus (like in London) which calls "Jerusline", a double decker Bus which has no roof on its second floor and which is going to make it easier for those who can't or don't feel like exploring the city by foot.
The bus, Number 99, will be passing through 27 touristy / historical locations and the passengers will be able to get off the bus in each of those stations.
During the ride you will be able to listen to an explenations with an earphone in one of 8 languages.
The bus will have 5 tours a day from 9:00 - 17:00 and a ticket will cost 45shekels (aprx 10USD) for an adult and 36shekels for a kid.
By the time I was due to leave Israel, I had gotten to and away from Jerusalam in a variety of ways, Bus, Taxi, Sherut, Hitching.
But the first time I went to Jerusalem was the most memorable. We got a shared taxi from Tiberias, which we shared with an older very flamboyant & colourful lady, who claimed she was a famous opera singer in Israel. No idea if she really was, but it made for an interesting taxi ride!
Best easy way to get to Jerusalem is by bus, there is service from any large city in Israel.
Also possible to take taxi service from Tel-Aviv
central bus station or Ben-Gurion airport.
I must say that the old train line to Jerusalem was going on a beautiful route, but currently there is no train and a new route is under plan. I am not so sure about the schedule and when it will be completed
From Tel Aviv bus station there are egged buses running every hour to Jerusalems Jaffa street bus station. Jaffa street is very long, but I love the walk. You will pass the local police station, the Mahane Yehuda Market, Ben Yehuda shopping area and some of the main hostel accomodation. Also the main travellers bars and Zion Square. When you reach the end of Jaffa Road you will suddenly find the walls of the Old City looming before you.
If you don't fancy the walk you can catch a taxi, or sherut ( shared taxi) from outside the bus station
The only way to see the old city is on foot. If you catch a taxi you can be dropped just inside Jaffa Gate ( return to catch a taxi out of the Old City.
For the rest of Jerusalem, take taxis or Sheruts. Buses are available to travel to the outskirts of the city.