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Getting around Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, although a smaller city, is always super busy. There are things to do - everywhere! Getting around can be a bit daunting at first. The first thing I had to do when I landed in Tel Aviv was get to my hotel. I decided to take a taxi. Little did I know that as an American tourist, I was about to get unbelievably ripped off. After this, I swore that that would never happen again!

If you aren’t from Tel Aviv, getting around this city can be a time consuming challenge. Here are some tips and ways to move easily from place to place in Tel Aviv so this won’t happen to you.

Buses

The number one best way to get around Tel Aviv are the buses. Being the second largest bus company in the world, Tel Aviv has mastered the art of public transportation. With that said, nothing is perfect, but for your daily commute, a ride to dinner, or a quick way to the beach, the buses are the most efficient way to move around the city.

To ride the bus, you can purchase a Rav Kav (bus pass) or pay with cash when you get on. If you plan on taking the bus frequently, a Rav Kav is the way to go. Smartphone apps such as google maps and Moovit are a great tool to have because it shows you the exact route of the bus and when it will be arriving.

There are an endless number of routes (over 1,000) so you will be sure to find one that suits your destination throughout Tel Aviv. In addition, buses come very frequently so the wait times are short.

One thing to consider when planning for transportation is that the buses do not run on Shabbat. For planning the weekend, we suggest doing things that require transportation before Friday night and going to destinations that are walkable Friday night and Saturday.

Monit Sherut

Have you heard about the unique service of Monit Sherut? Before I knew what this was, I never noticed these smaller vans that run about a minute before the buses. Instead of waiting at a bus stop, you can stand anywhere along the route and hail a van that looks like a smaller bus displaying the number of the route you want to take.

It costs the same amount as a bus and it can drop you off anywhere along the route. One big difference between the two is that you cannot use a Rav Kav, only cash. So if you ever feel like getting off in a location different than a bus stop or getting on in a different spot, make sure you look out for the Monit Sherut!

For tourists, this can be a daunting experience and will definitely take some practice. But if you are moving here or spending a lot of time here, getting familiar with Monit Sheruts will be very helpful.

The 4, 5, and 66 routes are most used in Tel Aviv. The service also offers rides from city to city and to the airport

Auto Tel (Car Sharing)

Owning a car in Tel Aviv can be frustrating and is really unnecessary for the city. There are around 430,000 people who live in Tel Aviv and the city is not equipped to handle cars for all of its residents. If you are going to buy a car, be aware that parking can is difficult- and in some areas EXTREMELY difficult to find. There is so much public transportation available so if you are not required to leave the city frequently, public transportation is the way to go.

An alternative to buying a car is the Tel Aviv municipality’s new Auto Tel system of car sharing. Brought about in 2017, it allows people to use a car for any time over an hour.

These cars are parked in over 600 parking spots throughout the city and can be reserved ahead of time. All of the cars are fueled and insured and ready to be driven.

This is the perfect solution if you can’t take public transportation where you want to go. For example, if you are driving to a suburb for the day, using Auto Tel is a great option to have. It is also cheaper than a taxi to use for the day.

Electric bikes/scooters

If it is your first time in Tel Aviv, the amount of these electric bikes and scooters can be overwhelming. When I first was walking through Tel Aviv, and saw how popular this method of transportation was, I was shocked.

It is hard to get used to not only looking out for cars when crossing the street, but these as well (debatably more scary).

While the electric bike has been around for a while, the scooter is becoming more popular due to a new design that made them lighter. Tel Avivians now have the option of either one of the electric vehicles.

If you are not from Tel Aviv, getting into this scene may be challenging and confusing, but if you are someone who likes to bike, this is also the place to explore that.

While it may not seem that way, there are laws regarding this method of transportation. Recently, it was released that the laws will be more strictly enforced. Here are some of the laws you should be aware of if you are riding one or a pedestrian.

  • Legally, you have to be 16 to operate the electric vehicles

  • Bikers have to ride on the bike paths or the right side of the road if there is no path

  • Bikers can be fined for riding on the sidewalk

  • Pedestrians can be fined for walking in the bike path

  • Fines range from 100-1,000 shekels

  • Cannot hold a cellphone/have headphones in while operating

In addition, the city of Tel Aviv is currently working on implementing an underground railroad system that should be ready in about five years. Like other major cities in the world, this system will be beneficial to all that use the new form of transportation. It is also set to make some neighborhoods much more accessible and sought after. Stay tuned!

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