I’ve launched “Backpack Israel” about two months ago. It isn’t complete yet, of course, but people are already starting to comment about it. A few days ago I got a message from a visitor to my site. She said that it could be great if I would have added to the site some info about bus tickets in Israel.
Before you read on, just making sure you know that there’s no public transportation during Shabbat and some holidays in Israel. Want to learn more? Read – There’s No Public Transportation on Shabbat
In Israel you don’t have to purchase a bus ticket before getting on the bus (update: this will change in Jerusalem beginning June 2018. You will need to get a Rav-Kav and purchase a ticket before getting on the bus). You usually buy your ticket from the driver the moment you get aboard. But there is an exception and it’s the Egged bus driving to and from Eilat. That bus has reserved seats in it, so if you won’t purchase a ticket before getting on the bus, you might arrive and find out that there’s no empty seat for you. Then the driver might let you stand the whole way to your destination or refuse to get you on, and in that case you will have to wait for the next bus to come.
To purchase your ticket beforehand, you have three options:
1- Go to the bus station at least a day (and up to a week) before your ride and order a ticket from the ticket booth.
2- Dial +972-3-6948888 and reserve your place through costumer service.
3- Reserve your place online, through the Hebrew ordering system.
In the two last cases you will not get your ticket immediately. You will get a reservation number, which you will use later in the self service ticket machine, situated in every central station in Israel.
Here is the full guide to buying a bus ticket from/ to Eilat:
In Israel, you usually pay for your bus ticket only when getting on the bus. But there’s an exception – the Egged bus leading to or from Eilat, which has reserved seats. You can pay for the ride to or from Eilat when getting on the bus, but then you’re risking the option of standing all the way or worse, having to wait for the next bus to come because there’s no room for you on the first one.
Buses Driving to/from Eilat
So which buses are those with the reserved seats? Here’s a list:
To/ from Jerusalem (spelled ירושלים in Hebrew) – line 444 (stopping at Mesada and Dead Sea).
To/ from Tel Aviv (spelled תל אביב in Hebrew) – line 394 (stopping at Be’er Sheva), line 390 and line 393 (stopping at Be’er Sheva).
To/ from Be’er Sheva (spelled באר שבע in Hebrew) – line 394 (final stop Tel Aviv if coming from Eilat), line 392 and line 397.
To/ from Haifa (spelled חיפה in Hebrew) – line 991.
So how to buy a ticket to/ from Eilat?
1 – Enter the Egged website.
2- Click “Book online” on the header menu.
3- Click “Tickets to Eilat”.
4- Dial the costumer service through +972-3-6948888 or purchase your ticket online by clicking “Order Ticket Online (He)”.
5- A new window will pop up, directing you to the reservations system of Egged in Hebrew.
Look at the picture below to understand what you should do:
6- After filling in all the data and clicking “המשך”, you will be directed to the timetable of your requested bus route. Choose the time that best suits you and click on “המשך” to get to the next step in your reservation.
7- Congrats! You’ve made it to the final step – payment. Fill in all the details. choose the method of payment and click “אישור הזמנה” to complete your reservation. In the picture below you can find out how to fill in everything:
Important note: When filling in your passport number, do not type an alphanumeric ID. The section only works with numbers, so type in your ID with numbers only (no letters).
8- After completing the reservation, you will get a reservation number, which you will use afterwards, so keep it!
If you’re planning on getting on the bus from one of the main stations, you will find in the station a self-service ticket machine, called “Eilatomat”. You will need to get your ticket from this machine by putting in your passport number (מספר דרכון / מספר ת.ז. / מספר תעודת זהות) and reservation number (מספר הזמנה). The machine operates in English as well. You can get your ticket up to two hours before your departure time. I advise you to arrive at the station at least 20 minutes before departure. If you’re getting on the bus in a stop that has no station, show the bus driver your reservation number (should arrive in your email box after confirming reservation).
Note – if you also buy a return ticket online, you will get a 20% discount on the ticket.
Still having problems with purchasing your ticket? I’ll be happy to help you. Send a message to my Facebook Page: Backpack Israel.
Enjoy your ride!
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Head pic credit: Grauesel CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia Commons