April 29th 2015
The Jerusalem Light Rail system (“HaRakevet HaKala” in Hebrew) first began operating in August 2011. If one of the Light Rail’s 24 stops is close to where you need to go, it can be a great way to get from one end of the city to the other, often much faster and more pleasant than using a bus or a taxi. The Light Rail is especially useful for getting to destinations in the greater City Center, such as the Central Bus Station, Ben Yehuda Street, the Old City or the shuk at Machne Yehuda.
Single-ride tickets can be purchased with Israeli currency or credit cards at the self-service electronic kiosks situated at each Light Rail station. There is an English-language option on the automatic ticket machines that print and dispense small cardboard tickets. The Light Rail was designed so that all station platforms align with the trolley car entranceways. This makes entering and exiting the Light Rail easier for those in wheelchairs or pushing strollers.
Once you get on the Light Rail, passengers are required to validate tickets by inserting them into slots at the top of the devices found near all doors. Occasionally, employees will walk through the Light Rail cars in order to verify that each passenger has paid his or her fare. If you are approached, simply hand the employee your paper ticket. If you’ve validated it upon entering the car, it will be scanned and handed right back to you.
Electronic signs at each Light Rail stop tell riders how many minutes they will have to wait until the next tram is expected at the station. These signs also display important information about delays, as well as security warnings in Hebrew, English and Arabic. In fact, the Light Rail system goes to great lengths to communicate everything in all three languages. Once on the Light Rail, each upcoming stop is announced, and other general audio notices are also issued in all three languages. In addition, inside each car, there are rotating electronic signs that spell out the name of the upcoming stop in Hebrew, English and Arabic.
There is no need to press a button to alert the Light Rail conductor of your intention to exit, since the Light Rail automatically stops at every station.