Buying a Bus Ticket in Israel

Credit: Grauesel CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia Commons

One of the most budget-friendly ways to travel in Israel is to take the bus. On most buses, you can simply pay when boarding the bus. But if you’re travelling to or from Eilat, you’ll need to pre-order your ticket. Here is how to buy a bus ticket in Israel.

Head pic credit: Grauesel CC BY-SA 3.0 from Wikimedia Commons


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 


How to pay for a bus ticket in Israel?

Since 2018, you cannot buy bus tickets directly from the bus driver. You will need to get a Rav-Kav and load it with enough money for the ride. Since 2021, it is also possible to pay using a payment app like Hop-On (Rav-Pass) or Moovit. I have used Hop-On and am very happy with it.

How to buy a ticket to Eilat?

There is an exception, and it’s the Egged bus driving to and from Eilat. That bus has reserved seats, so if you won’t purchase a ticket before getting on the bus (you can do so starting from 2 weeks prior to your travel date), 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 let you board the bus. In that case, you will have to wait for the next bus.

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. You can also come on the same day and try your luck. There might be an empty seat, but might not be.

2- Dial +972-3-6948888 and reserve your seat 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.

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 Masada and Dead Sea), 445.

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.

Booking a bus ticket through the online reservation system:

Here’s the video guide and below you can find it all written down (for those who prefer the written word). The video was made when Egged still had their old website. Now they have a new version, but the booking system is the same:

1 – Enter the Egged website

2- Click “Tickets” on the navigation menu.

3- Click “Tickets to Eilat”.

4- Dial the customer service through +972-3-6948888 or purchase your ticket online by clicking “Book now (Hebrew)”.

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. If you have ordered a two-way trip, you will be asked to choose the time of the return trip in the next screen.

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). Nobody checks your passport, so it doesn’t have to be precise.

8- After completing the reservation, you will get a reservation number, which you will use afterwards, so keep it!

If you’re planning on boarding the bus from one of the main stations, you will find in the station a self-service ticket machine, called “Eilatomat”.

One type of Eilatomat. Here you need to click on the button to your right (red circle)
The second screen. Press the left button

You will need to get your ticket from this machine by putting in your passport number (ID 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 at a stop that has no “Eilatomat,” show the bus driver your reservation number. Write the number which appears on the screen after you complete payment. The driver should already have your name in his or her list, so he might ask your name, too.

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!


Found my post useful? It would be great to get a like, a comment or a share 🙂

If you need help with planning your trip to Israel, have a look in the app I made with Travelkosh – Travel Israel on Google Play and iTunes

Yours,

Lior

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24 comments

There’s No Public Transportation on Shabbat – Backpack Israel August 9, 2018 - 3:22 am
[…] site to see if, maybe, the line you want leaves before Shabbat ends or arrives after it begins. Use my guide to buying bus tickets to Eilat online. You can also connect to the Facebook group – “Lifts for Eilati People“. […]
Israel: All You Need to Know Before you Go – Backpack Israel August 25, 2018 - 5:04 pm
[…] Buses – The line between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem costs 16 ILS, the line between Jerusalem and Haifa costs 37.5 ILS, the line between Tel Aviv and Haifa costs 21.5 ILS, the line between Jerusalem and Eilat costs 70 ILS. You can check prices through the Egged site. Also, read my guide to buying a bus ticket to and from Eilat. […]
data entry jobs from home no fees start today January 13, 2019 - 9:29 am
I read this piece of writing completely concerning the comparison of most recent and previous technologies, it's amazing article.
Emese January 20, 2019 - 8:46 am
Useful article and very helpful. Afer booking online my ticket will i get the reservation code by hebrew numbers or by latin numbers as well. Thank you
backpackisrael January 20, 2019 - 9:01 am
Happy to hear it is helpful! You will get a reservation code with regular numbers, like 123456789.
Marki007 February 8, 2019 - 4:17 pm
It was the most difficult and funniest online booking in my life ? Thank you very much for your helpful blog!
backpackisrael February 8, 2019 - 4:49 pm
Happy to help :)
Canadien Hongroise February 18, 2019 - 5:15 pm
Good article! I have a question in 2019 :) I would like to go to Ein Bokek from Jerusalem in 2019 march. It will be a one day trip. Can I buy a ticket on board from the Bus driver, or..? Many thanks!!
backpackisrael February 18, 2019 - 8:14 pm
Buy the ticket in Jerusalem from the Central Bus Station ticket stalls. Then, when coming back from Ein Bokek to Jerusalem, you can buy from the driver (you can book the back ticket from the central station). Just keep in mind that you might not have room on the bus..
lacka980 February 18, 2019 - 8:24 pm
Thank you very much!
hebs May 1, 2019 - 6:54 am
We (3) are planning to travel Friday 3rd March by bus from Tel-aiv to Dead sea and cover Jersusalem in return? Which mode is better to book tickets - online/bus station / customer service?
backpackisrael May 1, 2019 - 8:27 am
I would recommend buying the tickets at the bus station/ on the bus. This kind of ride does not require pre booking online
backpackisrael May 1, 2019 - 8:29 am
Though you should take into account that on Friday transportation stops around 4pm. So you need to make sure you get back on time, otherwise you will be stuck in the Dead Sea
lacka980 June 19, 2019 - 12:50 pm
Hi backpackisrael! :) I have been in Israel in March, it was fantastic experience. So, I would like to go again in Sept - Oct. 2019. Can I travelling from Jerusalem to Dead Sea and back to Jerusalem during Rosh Hashanah with Egged Bus Company october 1. 2019 on Tuesday?
backpackisrael June 19, 2019 - 2:09 pm
Hi there! :) Unfortunately during Rosh Hashana there is no public transportation, so you cannot travel with Egged to the Dead Sea and back. You can rent a car or join one of the tours that goes to the Dead Sea
Ted November 12, 2019 - 12:01 am
Thank you very much for this article. It is very helpful since Egged is only bookable in Hebrew.
backpackisrael November 12, 2019 - 4:45 am
Thanks for the comment! Was happy to help
Pavel November 27, 2019 - 3:34 pm
Hi, we would like to travel from Eilat to Tel Aviv on saturday. Everywhere is noticed that due to Sabbath no bus go anywhere, but on reservation system of egged there is possibility to buy a ticket for that day. Is it right? Thank you Pavel.
backpackisrael November 27, 2019 - 3:46 pm
Hi Pavel, yes, there are limited number of buses on Saturday from Eilat. Because Eilat is far away from the rest of the cities of Israel, it gets a few buses during Saturday
Pavel November 27, 2019 - 4:02 pm
OK... thanks for helpfull informations!
Pavel November 27, 2019 - 7:48 pm
I am trying to buy a ticket but when I confirm payment, that it announces me an error: Object reference not set to an instance of an object. Do you know where the problem is? Thanks. Pavel
backpackisrael November 28, 2019 - 6:25 am
Can you please send me an email with a screenshot of the details you filled in to lior@backpackisrael.com so I can try to understand the problem?
Pavel November 28, 2019 - 7:54 am
Thank you, I have already finished it, but a confirmation via email did not come. I wrote the number done so I hope it will be work.
backpackisrael November 29, 2019 - 1:52 pm
Yes, the number should work. I need to change the post and say they have stopped sending emails
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