As you might have heard from friends or fellow passengers, or through a pamphlet given to you at a station, Israel has reformed the pricing regions and tariff system for its public transportation networks as of January 1, 2016. We spoke with a Transportation Engineer involved with the project, to break down the new system and how it influences Givat Shmuel commuters.
The major changes are the reduction of fares (mainly via time passes but possibly also value passes as well) and the creation of metropolitan zones for Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Beer Sheva, with varying prices depending how far out you travel.
In short, inter-city bus travel is the same price but you may soon be able to use ערך צבור (loading 30/50/100 NIS onto the Rav-Kav) instead of כרטיסיות (multi-passes, usually 5).
For the local metro buses, you can now buy a daily (חופשי יומי), weekly (גמיש 7 / חופשי-שבועי), or monthly (גמיש 30 / חופשי-חודשי) pass – all of which are rather inexpensive compared to swiping multiple times a day. Best of all, this time passes include using the train within the 4 TLV stations. The prices of said passes depends on the time as well as the area of travel – for details see respective maps. Also, the train now offers a 20% discount for purchasing a round-trip ticket.
Therefore, if you go from GS to TLV one time, you will still pay 6.9 NIS. But if you plan on traveling throughout the area for a day/week/month, buy a חופשי pass ! And yes, your old tickets for buses and trains are still valid (uncertain for how long though).
The eventual plan is to unify all Israeli transport under one payment system. We’re getting there with the Rav Kav and now with the metro zones, so hold on and we’ll be there soon!