The surrounding reality is changing under the influence of various factors, not the least of which is the rapid development of digital technologies and the massive spread of smartphones. Until relatively recently, the presence of a smartphone was not taken into account when designing hotels, public places and urban infrastructure. Now there are stops with the ability to charge gadgets, and free Wi-Fi zones, and much more.
One good example of such a change is the Israeli bus, primarily the intercity bus.
Historically, the bus is the main form of public transport in Israel, as the railway service is practically undeveloped. What this is connected with is difficult to judge. Either because of the tension in the region, because of which the railways may be of interest to all kinds of bandits who want to destabilize the situation, or for another reason unknown to me. Only in recent years has the construction of additional railway lines begun, including a direct train from Tel Aviv to Ben Gurion International Airport.
But today is not about the railways, back to the bus.
All buses operating on intercity and intracity routes comply with the Euro 6 environmental standard, which means they cause the minimum possible damage to the country's ecology. There is a special note about this further on their board.
Thanks to this, even while at the bus station, among the large number of working bus engines, you do not experience fits of suffocation and practically do not feel the smell of exhaust gases.
In general, in Israel they are sensitive to ecology and pay increased attention to this.
But this is about ecology.
Now about the focus on new technologies.
Almost all city and intercity routes can be found on Google maps and track the movement of the bus in almost real time.
Likewise, using Google Maps, you can search for the routes you need and plan your trip. Maps will offer you several travel and connection options.
You can select both the departure time and the arrival time. Depending on this, the proposed options will also change from those available according to these criteria. Conveniently.
But these functions are related to Google Maps. The only advantage of the bus is that all routes are included in the maps.
The buses themselves are easy to distinguish by their green color and three-digit number – this is only for intercity routes. City buses usually have one or two digits.
Unlike urban buses, also green, but more squat with a large glass area, intercity buses are a classic version of a regular bus with a place for luggage and a high passenger compartment.
Inside the bus, in addition to the obligatory air conditioning and lighting, there is one USB port per passenger for charging your portable equipment, which many people actively use.
More modern ports (installed later) have latches that prevent the connector from falling out – the USB ports are on top, and therefore the wire from shaking can fall out. Sometimes you have to collective farm fixers (I'm an engineer with my mother). ?
Even taking into account such inconveniences with old ports, the very fact of having a USB port turns out to be very convenient: even if you forgot to charge your phone at home, the main thing is to take a cable with you, you can charge the gadget on the bus. By the way, it charges very quickly. This, of course, is not a proprietary fast charging, but it feels no less than 1-1.5A. My S8, with its 3000mAh batteries, charged from 15% to 100% in a little over an hour and a half. The only thing missing with such an arrangement of ports is the place where you can put the phone while charging: you have to hold it in your hands or on your lap – where is the cable enough or use available tools.
Although, perhaps, this was done on purpose so that the phones are not forgotten on the bus.
Another cool feature is that all long distance buses have a free Wi-Fi hotspot that you can use on the road.
Yes, the speed will be far from our usual 4G, but check your mail, read the news. Considering that most roads, especially to the south, run along the coast of the Dead Sea, through the desert, where the phone can sometimes connect to the base stations of Jordan, located on the opposite coast, using Wi-Fi on the bus can save you from unexpected costs of roaming with Jordan . ?
In addition to the access point on the bus, at all central bus stations in large cities there is also the opportunity to use free Internet through the open access point of the bus station with the exact same name.
The speeds are better than on the bus, but you won't be able to download torrents, alas. But this, of course, is a comic minus.
Muscovites are very fond of their universal Troika card, which can be used to pay in all types of public transport, including buses and metro. In Israel, you won't be able to pay for a bus with a phone, but there is a service similar to Troika, called RavKav. This is a personalized card that has its own account, which is not tied to either a bank card account or a SIM card account. You can get the card at any bus station or at the points of issue, the addresses of which can be found on the first link to the corresponding request in Google.
Registration takes 5 minutes and is free of charge. You will need a passport (a Russian foreign one will work too).
This is what the map looks like.
It is issued for life and, in case of loss, can be restored at any point of issue. The card balance is also saved indefinitely. That is, the money once credited to it will remain there until you use it.
The meaning of this card is that with its help you can save on travel on urban and some intercity routes. For different categories of citizens, the discount can be different (up to 75% in the case of pensioners and about 50% if you are a student). The card is replenished at the ticket office of the station (there are other options, but they are not relevant for tourists). For example, me and my wife, when replenishing our 'RavKav' cards for 30 shekels each, were credited with thirty seven and a half shekels. With this money we traveled from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea in the town of Ein Bokek. But RavKav is too voluminous a phenomenon worthy of a separate article, so I will stop here.
Instead of a conclusion
On the one hand, being a country with slowly introducing innovations in some areas (in Israel, for most sellers, contactless payment is still a novelty, and causes distrust and most often a refusal to be able to pay for a purchase with a phone), in other areas, such as a comfortable living environment , the Israelis will give one hundred points ahead of many European countries. In the list of these amenities, intercity buses are what pleasantly surprised and not only made the trip more comfortable and richer, but also made it possible to save a tangible amount that would otherwise have been spent on taxis and the Internet.