Route reform

It will take Tel Avivians time to get used to the overhaul of the city’s bus lines – and the bus companies’ information drive leaves something to be desired.

Tel Aviv bus 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Tel Aviv bus 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
While there were some early complaints regarding last Friday’s public transportation reorganization in Tel Aviv, the overwhelming impression formed on a visit to Tel Aviv this week seems to be that this change is seen by passengers as a positive one.
“It will take some time to learn the new routes,” said one Tel Aviv resident, “but they gave us a lot of information.”
The website has 13 separate maps covering different areas, but even this busmap aficionado had great difficulty understanding what it’s all about. I was astonished to see that route 4 – which has been in existence since at least 1958 and probably even longer – doesn’t appear on the “Area 3: central Tel Aviv” map. I then discovered two further maps covering the same area, and route 4 is shown on the second of these maps.
Daniel Kogan, a member of the marketing and information team of the Gush Dan public transport reform, explained that the three separate maps of the central Tel Aviv area are (1) local routes; (2) principal routes that will run very frequently from 5:30 a.m. until midnight; and (3) interurban routes, coming into the central area from outlying districts.
It is difficult to see how this distinction helps the average bus passenger, who isn’t likely to be walking around with a laptop or a ring binder filled with these maps. Waiting for a bus on Allenby Road, who cares whether the 16 and 17 are designated local routes; the 4, 10, 61 and 72 are principal routes, and the 19, 47 and 48 (among others) are intercity routes? In addition, there has been a major overhaul of the fares system. Gush Dan has been divided into three areas: Area 1 is Tel Aviv, Bnei Brak, Rishon Lezion, Ganei Tikva, Yehud and Petah Tikva; Area 21 is Kfar Saba, Ra’anana, Herzliya, Ramat Hasharon and Hod Hasharon; and Area 22 is Rosh Ha’ayin. For some reason, the website’s map showing these zones uses almost identical shades of orange for areas 21 and 22, as if no other colors were available.
Tickets valid for unlimited travel for 90 minutes within one area cost NIS 6.40, and for unlimited travel for the same amount of time in more than one area NIS 10. “Hofshi hodshi” unlimited monthly tickets in Area 1 cost NIS 227, in area 21 NIS 159, and for all three areas NIS 248. A “hofshi hodshi” daily ticket covering Area 1 costs NIS 14.
One ticket will be valid on buses operated by all companies: Dan, Egged, Metropoline and Kavim.
Further information, in Hebrew, can be found at
Each of the 13 areas has an impressive-looking brochure, detailing the buses running in that area. While each brochure – available only in its respective area – gives excellent information on the buses in that area, there is no overall map.
Kogan said it would be impossible to produce such a map showing every bus route. However, one can plan a journey on the website
Information in English – a private initiative – is available at public-transport-reform-in-the-tel-aviv-area/.
As with all reforms, this one will take some getting used to. Meanwhile, perhaps it’s no coincidence that the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality has installed bicycle rental stations throughout the city.
Mackenzie Green contributed to this report.