Public Transportation in Israel

   I am a people-watcher. Where best to watch people but on the bus! In fact a bus ride is a great way to see the terrain around you. I took the bus from Tiberias to Jerusalem - about a two-hour ride.

Bus stops are well marked. Each stop has a location marker number, the bus numbers and some even have a time table.
   Stops along the way are always broadcast in three languages, Hebrew, Arabic and English, displayed visually and called out over a loud speaker. The drivers are mostly friendly and helpful if you don't know your way. There's always someone on the bus who will jump in to guide you too! The radio is always on so you can hear local and world music. The volume is always raised to hear each news broadcast. I was amused by the decor on this particular bus. 

   The "Light Rail" is a relatively new addition to public transportation (since 2002). Be sure to purchase a "Rav Kav", a travel pass, if you plan to use public transport in Israel. Seniors get a 50% discount too! You can't beat that! 

   Getting around via the Light Rail is easy and comfortable. I passed by Kiryat Moshe, the first neighborhood I lived in back in 1976 when I lived with my mother. I have to admit my eyes welled up with a few tears as we passed by. 

   The next neighborhood was Beit HaKerem where I had lived with roommates. At that time the neighborhood housed many of Israel's newscasters including Ehud Yaari and Dan Margalit, as well as politicians including Ehud Olmert and Tzahi HaNegbi. My good friend in Jerusalem, whom I had the pleasure of visiting this week (thank you!!), and I recalled the days when we were roommates. I was a guitar teacher. One day I held a student recital in our home. My roommate was stunned when she saw the parents who had come for the show. There in our living room sat the people mentioned above! Back then I was ignorant of politics. To me they were simply the parents of my students. Today I am amused when I think back on that moment. 

   Riding the rail I thought about how the area has changed over the years to accommodate progress and modernization. When I lived in this area of Jerusalem in 1976 the road was only two lanes. On one side was the neighborhood, which today looks the same, On the other side was land. The land was slowly carved away to add additional lanes just for buses. Today those lanes are for the Light Rail. I suppose I'm just old enough to remember and to witness the evolution of progress. 

  As I mentioned already I really do enjoy people-watching. Public transportation is probably the best way to see the people and get a sense of life where you are. Below are a few photos of some of the people I had the pleasure of seeing and also speaking with. 

I had the opportunity to say "thank you", one of the few words I know in Arabic. Though smiling proved to be a great way to enjoy the ride.  

These two jolly fellows were tourists from France. I gave my very limited French a try. It turns out they were traveling in the wrong direction so we had a laugh about it before they got off and took the train back the other way. 

Quiet please! The noise bothers the driver. 


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