Since the beginning of 2019, Israel officially ditched using cash on buses and trains. Now, if you want to use public transport, the most popular way is the rechargeable card called “Rav Kav” (Multiline).
You get on the bus with your preloaded card, press it against the card
reader, and your ride is paid for. You can also change lines for bo extra charge for the next hour and a half.
Most Israelis have a “personalized” card, with their photo on it, and information like discount eligibility (seniors, students),
For tourists, there is the “anonymous card”.
It’s basically a blank card, that only accepts the basic tariff with no discounts (about 6 NIS per ride in Tel-Aviv, cheaper in other cities).
Where Do I Get One?
If you’re looking for an anonymous Rav Kav, you can get one either in the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv (level 6), or more conveniently – the arrivals hall in Ben Gurion Airport. It costs 5 NIS to buy the card.
Where Do I Charge The Card?
You can charge your Rav Kav using the machine you bought the card from, or in designated
locations: Super-Pharm and Good Pharm have dedicated charging machines, many kiosks and gas stations offer this service as well. You can also use Tel-O-Fun stations (In Tel Aviv) to charge your card.
The problem is that most charging terminals only use Hebrew.
So you will probably need to ask for assistance. You can also charge the card from your phone (if you have NFC on your phone) using an app called HopOn.
You can NOT charge your card directly on the bus.
And If I Don’t Want A Card?
No problem, you can download the HopOn app (it works in English, too). You can use the app to scan QR codes that are found in every bus (next to the driver). The app will charge your credit card.