Jerusalem central bus station

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The Jerusalem Central Bus Station

The Jerusalem Central Bus Station (Hebrew: התחנה המרכזית של ירושלים‎, HaTahanah HaMerkazit Shel Yerushalayim) is the main bus depot in Jerusalem, Israel and one of the busiest bus stations in the country. Located on Jaffa Road near the entrance to the city, it serves Egged, Superbus and Dan intercity bus routes. City buses and light rail trains pick up and discharge passengers across the street on Jaffa Road and on Zalman Shazar Boulevard, which can be accessed via an underground pedestrian passageway.[1]


Central Bus Station, 1930s

The Central Bus Station opened in September 2001 on the site of the old Jerusalem Bus Station, built in the 1960s. The old station was a long, single-story building with an open-air bus depot behind it. Passengers embarked and disembarked at curbside on an outdoor platform. In the 1950s, the main bus station was located in the heart of downtown Jerusalem, behind the Pillar Building ("Binyan Ha'amudim") on Jaffa Road.

Jerusalem's new bus station was commissioned in order to accommodate the increasing flow of bus traffic as well as to implement security protocols for screening incoming and outgoing passengers. During construction of the new bus station, operations were moved to a large, two-level parking lot several blocks east on Jaffa Road.

Interior design[edit]

Interior of the departures garage on the third floor

The new Central Bus Station has two levels of underground parking, three main levels, and five upper floors of office space. The first main level is a shopping concourse and food court. The second main level serves as both a shopping concourse and the arrivals hall for incoming intercity bus passengers. Since the building is constructed on the side of a hill, the first and second main levels both have a ground-level entrance/exit to Jaffa Road. Besides retail stores, the concourse includes bakery outlets, a video game parlor, and free-standing gift sellers.

The third main level serves as the departures hall, with 22 bus platforms. Passengers wait at numbered doors for the bus to pull into its slot in the indoor parking lot, then go through the door into the indoor garage to board. Large digital display boards post upcoming departure times.

While most platforms accommodate more than one bus route, popular routes, such as Jerusalem-Tel Aviv, have their own designated platform and run more frequently.

Israeli soldiers wait to board intercity buses at an indoor platform on the third floor.

Passengers and their baggage are screened by security personnel every time they enter the Central Bus Station building. That is, departing passengers must go through security clearance when they enter the building from Jaffa Road and may then board buses without additional security checks. Passengers arriving in Jerusalem are dropped off in the garage on the other side of the building. They may choose to exit out to the street—in which case they do not need to pass through security—or to go into the bus station building—in which case they must go through a security check. People wishing to visit only the shopping concourses must also clear security. As is the case for most commercial security checkpoints in Israel, gun owners are exempt from security searches, it being presumed that anyone who has been vetted by the government to carry a loaded firearm in public has no criminal or terrorist intentions. In addition to building security, Egged has its own team of uniformed security personnel patrolling the indoor bus parking lots. In practice, however, the screening is poorly implemented; passengers and visitors can enter the building without passing through screening.[citation needed]

Indoor air pollution[edit]

In October 2013 the Environmental Protection Ministry of Israel officially declared the indoor garage where passengers board the buses to be "an excessively polluted space and an endangerment to public health". The levels of nitrogen oxide and respirable particulates generated by exhaust were said to be in violation of Israel's Clean Air Law. In 2012 the bus station received a fine of NIS 708,224 for air pollution, which is still being discussed in court, and in September 2011 the Environmental Protection Ministry ordered the management to "completely separate the bus platform and the building's interior due to high pollution levels".[2]

Train stations[edit]

A new Heavy rail station, Jerusalem Binyanei HaUma Railway Station, of the planned high-speed Israel Railways line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, is being constructed in the outdoor square between the Central Bus Station on Jaffa Road and Shazar Boulevard, it will be an underground terminus, scheduled to open in 2017.[citation needed] There are future plans to extend the high-speed train line from the Central Bus Station to the Jerusalem Malha Train Station, the terminus of the current old railroad.[citation needed]

A station of the Jerusalem Light Rail system is behind the bus stops in front of the Central Bus Station building.

Preceding station   Jerusalem Light Rail   Following station
Ha-Turim   Red Line   Kiryat Moshe

Intercity platform list[edit]

Plat № Lines Destination
2 187, 420 Har Adar, Beit Shemesh
3 415, 416 Beit Shemesh
4 444, 445, 486, 487 Dead Sea and Eilat
5 941, 943, 946, 949 Samaria
6 380, 381, 382, 383, 440 Southern Judea
7 443, 446, 460 Netivot, Be'er Sheva, Kiryat Gat
8 470 Be'er Sheva
9 436, 437 Ashkelon
10 438, 448 Ashdod
11 404, 406, 408, 456, Holon, Lod, Tzrifin
12 403, 431, 432, 433 Rishon LeZion, Ramla
13 434, 435, 439, 447 Rehovot, Yavne
14 405 Tel Aviv
15 431, 432, 433, 456, 480 Rishon LeZion, Tel Aviv
16 480 Tel Aviv
17 947, 950 Haifa
18 930, 942, 944, 947, 950 Haifa, Netanya, Hadera, Herzliya
19 940, 960 Haifa
20 953, 959, 962, 963 Afula, Tiberias, Kiryat Shmona
21 955, 961, 966, 968 Nazareth Illit, Beit Shean, Katzrin, Karmiel
22 400, 401, 425, 427 Bnei Barak, Petah Tikva
53 277, 402, 407, 417, 426, 492, 494, 952, 982, 996, 997, 999 Different locations around Israel and local lines to suburbs. Mainly lines to the Orthodox sector.

Ubran lines

127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 137, 151, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178 Mevaseret Zion, Giv'at Ze'ev, Ma'ale Adumim

Intercity lines

140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 147, 148, 180, 181, 183, 185, 186, 188, 189, 192, 194, 195, 361, 362, 364, 365, 366, 367, 369, 453, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 466, 467, 468, 469 Different locations around Israel and local lines to suburbs.

Haredi buses[edit]

Shopping concourse

The decision to include a shopping concourse within the bus station was criticized by the Haredi community. After Haredi activists petitioned the Ministry of Transportation to allow Egged to open a departure point for buses traveling to Haredi destinations that would board outside the Central Bus Station, Egged opened a special platform where passengers boarding its Route 400 to Bnei Brak sit in relative privacy. In addition, the bus company agreed to launch a "mehadrin" Route 402 between Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. This route departs from Egged's city bus terminus at Har Hotzvim in northern Jerusalem, accommodating Haredi riders who wish to avoid the Central Bus Station altogether. The Har Hotzvim terminus has expanded to include "mehadrin" bus departures to other Haredi destinations such as Safed, Ashdod, Haifa, Arad, Kiryat Ata and more. In a ruling of January 2011, the Israeli High Court of Justice stated the unlawfulness of gender segregation and abolished the "mehadrin" public buses. However, the court rule allowed the continuation of the gender segregation in public buses on a voluntary basis for a one-year experimental period.[3]

Kosher McDonald's controversy[edit]

A second bone of contention was the opening of a McDonald's franchise in the food court. Most McDonald's restaurants, including the one in the Jerusalem city center, did not have kashrut certification from the rabbinate. Although this McDonald's franchise was in the process of applying for a kashrut certificate, and even completed its construction accordingly, the rabbinate conditioned its certification on McDonald's making its other outlets in the city kosher.[4] When McDonald's decided to open a kosher branch but without a certificate, Haredi activists threatened a boycott. The Natzba real-estate firm which owns the bus station canceled McDonald's contract. McDonald's took it to court and won; Natzba was forced to pay it 100,000 shekels in trial expenses. McDonald's opened its franchise in the Central Bus Station, following halachic obligations, but without rabbinical supervision. The Haredi boycott never materialized.[5]

In January 2010, McDonald's reopened with a kosher certificate from the Jerusalem rabbinate, after the company agreed to make changes to satisfy the rabbis. The signs are blue, instead of the traditional red, with "kosher" written in English and Hebrew in big letters. The disposable cartons, bags, wraps, and place mats, are also blue and bear no golden arches, and the staff wears special uniforms.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Transportation". Ministry of Tourism - The State of Israel. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  2. ^ Udasin, Sharon (28 November 2013). "Knesset panel head: Solution needed now on Jerusalem bus station pollution". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 5 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Izenberg, Dan; Mandel, Jonah (January 6, 2011). "Court scraps 'mehadrin' buses". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  4. ^ Prince-Gibson, Eetta (May 31, 2002). "The Burger They Love to Hate". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  5. ^ Reinfeld, Moshe (December 17, 2001). "Non-kosher McDonald's to open in Jerusalem central bus station". Haaretz. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 
  6. ^ Lidman, Melanie (January 3, 2010). "Supersize this, rabbi!". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved July 19, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°47′20″N 35°12′11″E / 31.789°N 35.203°E / 31.789; 35.203