Unless you want to travel between Friday afternoon and Saturday evening (Shabbat), you can get along well with public transportation. You can purchase single tickets, but if you want to save some money and travel cashless, use the magnetic card called Rav Kav.
Rav Kav is a pre-paid bus card for multiple rides and season tickets. It is usable in all public transportation in Israel (except of shared taxis) and can be purchased at any central bus station. At the Rav Kav office you will need to provide an identity document. A digital photo of you will be taken and printed onto the card, which will be issued on the spot.
You can charge the card either at the office or when getting on the bus. Each time you get on the bus, you swipe the card and the appropriate fare is deducted from the balance. If you are a student, you are entitled to a 33% rebate on rides. In order to receive this discount, you need to follow these steps:
Print the form confirming that you are a student (Ishur Limudim)
Go to the Central Bus Station and bring along your student card, an ID and the student confirmation paper
Your student discount will be applied to your magnetic card
Modes of Transportation
Train: There are two train stations in the city. One is the North-University station near the BGU Sports Center, and one is
Beer-Sheva Merkaz (Center), right by the Central Bus Station. There are only northbound trains (towards Tel Aviv) out of Beer- Sheva (except for Dimona), and they run once an hour (twice during rush hour). On Fridays, the last train leaves around 12:30 p.m. and train service resumes 1–2 hours after Shabbat ends on Saturday night. When using the train, you must hold onto
your ticket as it will be required to exit the station. The main
website for trains all over the country is available in English and has detailed schedule information and trip planning.
Bus: The bus is generally cheaper than the train, and sometimes faster. Tickets can be purchased from the driver and you can get a student discount when eligible, by bringing your Rav Kav magnetic card along and purchasing a round-trip ticket.
The Central Bus Station is located behind the Kanyon HaNegev Shopping Mall on Rager Street. On Fridays, buses run until a few hours before sunset (generally longer than the train) and they also start running sooner after Shabbat ends. Some intercity buses may begin operation as early as mid-afternoon Saturday without waiting for the “official” end time of Shabbat.
To plan a trip by public transportation, use the Moovit app. Just download it from your app store and you can enter departure and destination addresses, cities or points of interest. It will take you from door to door and also provide you with walking directions. If you prefer a website, use this.
Common Intercity Bus Routes from Beer-Sheva:
Tel Aviv – Central Bus Station: 370
Tel Aviv – Arlozoroff Station (Savidor Merkaz train station): 380
Jerusalem – Central Bus Station: 470
Ashkelon – 363/364 (to the beach!)
Eilat – 392, 393, 394 or 397 (you must purchase tickets in advance, either online or at the counter)
Monit Shirut (Shared Taxi): Shiruts are minibuses that provide transportation to many cities in Israel. They leave from the parking lot right next to the Central Bus Station. They always wait until they are full and then leave, meaning there is no scheduled departure time. Passengers can hop off anywhere they want along the way. Just let the driver know where you want to get off. Shared taxis are a bit more expensive than buses. The route between Tel Aviv and Beer-Sheva is the only one that operates on Shabbat. Be ready to wait for the actualdeparture.
Rideshare (Trump): This is a popular alternative to other forms of public transportation. Ride sharers benefit from the comfort and convenience of a car ride; drivers split the cost of gas. You can find shared rides on various Facebook groups (depending on where you want to go). Please ask the International Office to help you find a ride.
Renting a car is a great option to get around Israel. In Beer-Sheva there are many car rentals. It is best to use a search aggregator to find the best quote. Please note that car rentals close Friday at noon and only reopen on Sunday. This means that you will have to rent the car for at least two days.
Kilometres: For one- or two-day rentals, the kilometres included are limited to 200 km or 250 km per day. For three-day or longer rentals, the kilometres are unlimited. Airport rental locations are open 24/7 and renting from or dropping off a car at the airport will entail an additional airport fee.
Rental companies charge an extra administrative fee (50 NIS + tolls) for using the toll road number 6 that runs from southern to northern Israel. It is an automatically billing toll road and you will be charged for each trip. A bill will be sent to the owner of the car, or if a rental, it will be passed on to the renter with an extra fee. Failure to pay within 30 days results in 100% fee increase.
Parking: In cities and developed areas, you may only park where the curb is unpainted (free) or painted with blue/white stripes (metered). All meters in Israel are controlled by the Pango Parking System – you call *4500 and follow the menu to pay, or download the app.
All red/white and red/yellow painted curbs are strictly no-parking zones.
Within Beer-Sheva, many students get along just by walking. The Office of International Academic Affairs has issued a map to help you get around by bus, foot and bike. Just come to the front desk to receive your copy.
Biking: Having a bike makes all of Beer-Sheva extremely accessible, and can make a huge difference in getting to class and around town, shopping and going on short trips and outings. It is cheapest to get a used bike, but you can purchase a new entry-level bike for 400–600 NIS.
Please note that the roads are extremely dangerous for cyclists, so try to ride on the pavement and always wear a helmet. Bike theft is fairly common. Use a good lock – under no circumstances a cable lock – and, if possible, keep your bike in your apartment or in the staircase.
Taxis: Taxis in Beer-Sheva charge 20–25 NIS for short local rides. In general, you should confirm the price or ask the driver to activate the taxi meter. Taxis might charge extra for big luggage such as suitcases. On Holidays, Shabbat and late at night, the fares are slightly higher. Note that in taxis you can only pay in cash and there is no need to tip the driver. You can stop a cab on the road, but if there is no cab around, call (08) 643-4343 or (08) 620-9090.
Buses: There is an extensive bus route around the city. Most buses run from 6 a.m. to around 10 p.m. Some operate until later, but the frequencies change. On Fridays the urban bus lines run until 4 or 5 p.m., depending on daylight savings time. On Saturdays public transportation resumes at around 9 p.m.
If you have a smartphone, the easiest way to get around Beer-Sheva is by using the Moovit app (search for it in your app store), which offers real-time information on the public transportation network. Googlemaps has also updated its database about Israel’s public transportation. You can enter points of interest or addresses and calculate a route. Bring change along when taking the bus.