Tips for tourists to deal with Jerusalem’s Traffic Changes
Traffic has always been an issue in Jerusalem. The capital of Israel, with close to a million residents is also a popular destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists. The city residents are “buzzing” about the major traffic changes at the entrance to town. How will this disrupt traffic? How can tour buses get into Jerusalem? What will this do to my commute?
Here are a few tips to make your trip to Jerusalem easier.
Which street is closed for 3 years?
Zalman Shazar street the main road at the entrance to town between Binyanei Hauma (the conference center) and the new Navon Train Station just past the Chords Bridge, is now closed to private cars and taxis for the next 3 years (2022). The transportation department will be building an underground tunnel to lead traffic under the area which will be built as a commercial and residential center.
Can private cars still enter the city?
YES If you arrive via route 1 then right after the Chords Bridge you can make a right turn to Herzl and enter the city through the neighborhood with the government offices. Alternatively you can arrive via the 443 and the Begin Highway or through Ein Kerem.
The Apps you must have to get around the city – WAZE, Moovit, & Cellopark
As great as it is to ask a local friend for parking or traffic advice – today locals rely on these 3 important apps.
Created in Jerusalem at Hebrew University gives you live step by step directions to get from point A to point B. It will also give you your estimated time of arrival. How does WAZE always know which route is the best? WAZE collects data from current drivers in the area to learn the routes and the streets that are closed.
If you want a good laugh you can download WAZE in Aramaic which uses Talmudic terms for driving instructions.
1. שליחא דבי דינא קדמיך
Police trap reported ahead
2. מיתקן לאורחא מלכתחילה
3.אפיק באפוקי תניינא
Take the second exit
4. אנן מימטי לדוכתא
We have reached our destination
5. אתו ניפיק לאורחא
All set let’s go
6. אביקו לאורחא דבשמאלא
Created by Dovid Spivak a Sociology & Communications major at Hebrew University. Download it here – Created for fun!
The best app to use in Israel to find the right buses, local trains and intercity transportation to get from one place to another. Moovit gives you bus times and alternate route suggestions. If you choose the right setting it can even let you know when to get off the bus.
The #1 parking app for tourists in Jerusalem. If you have chosen to rent your own car then make sure to download Cellopark and insert your rental car’s license plate number. Cellopark allows you to pay for parking at all blue and white curbs and many city parking lots. You choose the city you are in and then swipe right to turn on the parking mode. The best feature is the automatic “turn off” when Cellopark senses that your car has moved and you no longer need parking. This has saved me hundreds of shekels over the years. Read more
I’m a big fan of the new high speed train to Ben Gurion airport that leaves from the Navon Station in Jerusalem. When it runs on time which is majority of the time – it is the fastest, quietest and easiest way to get to the airport.
If you are traveling further north to Tel Aviv, Netanya or even further you can take the train in 25 minutes to Ben Gurion and then switch platforms to a second “slower” train to Tel Aviv. Door to door it has taken me an hour to get from Jerusalem to Sarona Market in Tel Aviv.
So why doesn’t everyone take the train? Because it is still in its early stages and the train can randomly stop on the track or not arrive on time. Every new mode of transportation has its teething stages but this will positively affect inter city traffic in the years to come.
- You can pay with a Rav Kav but you have to purchase the ticket using the Rav Kav at the Ticket machine
- The last car of the train is the quiet car
- Trains have electrical outlets and tables so you can work
- There is an elevator that can take you all the way down to the train
- There are lots of escalators to go down so plan to come at least 10-15 minutes before your train leaves
- Trains leave on time
- If you continue north after Ben Gurion the next train may be called Nahariya but makes stops in Tel Aviv, Netanya etc. Check the Israel Railways app for details. Click on the settings icon in the top right corner to switch language to English – this will close the app and then you can reopen it in English.
VIP CAR SERVICE –
If you just don’t want the hassle and want to be taken care of like a VIP then reserve a VIP minibus with Avraham our preferred driver. Avraham can take you all over the country in style.
Still have a question? Post a comment and we will try our best to answer.
Thank you to Sharon Altshul from Real Jerusalem Streets for our cover picture.
We will will continue to post updates to this transportation post as we hear about them!