Mediterranean Monday: The Art of Bus-Riding

IMG_0029If my cup of coffee in the morning doesn’t completely wake me up, then the bus rides sure will! Riding the public busses in Tel Aviv is an art form, its not for the faint-of-heart.

You might be thinking, “how difficult is it to ride a bus, come on!?!”

And let me reply, “it’s not difficult, but you need to have gumption and be ready for battle.

First of all, let me start at the beginning. Bus-Riding in Israel 101.

  1. While waiting for the bus, remember that lines in Israel do not actually exist.  Everyone will sorta mule around, and when the bus pulls up you must push your way into the huddle.  If you stand back, unassertively, you will be last, and being last as you will see is not a good thing.
  2. In the midst of pushing yourself onto the bus, make sure you have some sort of bus pass.  Giving the driver change will just prolong your process and make everyone else annoyed with you.
  3. Once you are in, look for ANY available seat.  Being able to sit is a rare treat!
  4. If there is no seat you are now one of the many sardines in the tin”.  Trust me its not fun, but there are some important guidelines for the sardine life:
  5. Make sure you have a firm grasp of either a pole or a seat.  I prefer not to use the hangy things from the ceiling, cuz they just are not stable at all.
  6. When standing, make sure you have an evenly-balanced position. Legs shoulder-length apart, never together.  You MUST be prepared for the MANY abrupt stops the driver WILL make during the trip. Learning how to shift your weight from your right to left leg, according to stops and take-offs are ESSENTIAL!  This will prevent many akward spills into other people.
  7. Make sure you know your stop.  If the bus is full, wading your way through the sardines to the exit of the bus may take a bit of time, so be prepared.
  8. And finally, when the bus stops you must be quick to get off.  The driver WILL shut the doors on you or before you have a chance to exit.  Make sure you know the word for driver in Hebrew (nag), and be ready to shout it out, in hopes he’ll give you a second chance an re-open the doors.

As you can see, its not for the weak-minded….

And now you know why I do not look forward to my 4 bus trips everyday.  But, while in Rome (aka, Tel Aviv)……

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About Maureen Hochdorf

Writer. Editor. High Techi. Non-Profit Founder. Traveler. Sports Lover. Star Wars Fanatic. Tel Aviver. Michigander.... View all posts by Maureen Hochdorf

15 responses to “Mediterranean Monday: The Art of Bus-Riding

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