TrainThere are two train stations in Beer-Sheva: the Central Train Station, which is located next to the Central Bus Station and the University Train Station, in the walking distance from the University (it is marked on the campus map). From both of them you can travel comfortably to Tel Aviv (around 23 NIS, 1.5 hours) and if you have a lot of time, also to Jerusalem via a very picturesque Bet Shemesh - Jerusalem railroad (around 30 NIS, 2.5 hours, change in Lod). Here you can check the train schedule. There is no need to book tickets in advance. You cannot make a reservation.
There are buses from most neighborhoods to the central bus station. Most of the buses then go from the central bus station, through the old city, back to the neighborhood. The city bus schedule is available, in Hebrew, at http://www.metrodan.com/. You can obtain useful information from it even with out any knowledge of Hebrew. Here's how I use it. If you know the bus number you're interested in (say you read bus number 7 goes somewhere you want to go), choose that number from the drop down menu on the right. Then, if you click on the picture of a clock, you can get a sense of how often it runs and how late it runs (I think the times listed are the times it leaves the central bus station, but I'm not sure). If you click on the picture that looks like a circle inside a square it shows you a city map (in Hebrew) with the bus route drawn on. By looking back and forth to an English map and the route map, I've been able to figure out where the bus runs (although sometimes only approximately correctly).
You buy tickets from the driver. A single ride costs 3.80 NIS. Or you can buy a punch card with ten rides for 30.40 NIS. If you don't lose it, this can save you money. The card is called a "Kartesiah". Be sure to save your punch card or receipt until after you get off the bus since occasionally inspectors board the bus and can ask to see them.
Intercity Buses:To Jerusalem:
There are Egged buses 446, 470 connecting Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. Depending on the traffic, this 120km-long travel takes from 90 to 150 minutes one way. A return ticket costs approximately 55 NIS. Alternatively you can ask for a one way student ticket (the same discount rate, student card required).
To Tel Aviv:
There are Egged and Metropoline buses 369, 370 to Tel-Aviv Central Bus Station and bus 369a, 380 to Tel-Aviv Central Railway Station. Depending on the traffic, this 110km-long travel takes from 90 to 120 minutes one way. A one way ticket costs approximately 15 NIS. Buses 370 and 380 do not stop before Tel-Aviv. If you have a lot of time, you can go to Tel-Aviv by bus 351, 353 or 371. The travel takes at least 140 minutes, because the bus make some interesting detours through the countryside.
Note: The Tel Aviv central bus station (lines 369, 370) is located in a bad part of town, it could be unpleasant and confusing, and in spite of its name, its location is not very convenient. For most purposes, the central rail station (served by buses 369a, 380) is a better choice.
Buses 446, 369, 369a, 370, 380, 470 stops next to the University, at the corner of Rager and Ben Gurion streets. Buses 351,353 and 371 start at the Central Bus Station in Beer-Sheeva, but then they follow a different route to Tel-Aviv (highway 25) and do not pass next to the University.
In both companies tickets are sold by the drivers. The only exception are buses to Eilat; if you plan to go there, you can buy your ticket in a small kiosk located within the Central Bus Station. Usually there is no need to buy your ticket in advance. You do need to buy your return ticket from Eilat in advance and reserve a seat on a specific bus. For example, you can do this when you buy your ticket to Eilat.
TaxiTaxi within Beer-Sheva costs 20 NIS. The price is fixed and does not depend on the distance (Mostly this is true, they seem to charge 25 NIS to/from the shopping center "Big"). Long distance drives could be arranged for approximately 300NIS/100km.
SherutSmall buses (around 10 passengers), usually slightly cheaper then Egged and Metropoline buses, serve mainly the most popular destinations like Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Dimona, Sderot. No schedule - driver waits until his bus fills with passengers. Office of one of the sherut companies is located next to Central Bus Station. You can ask there for additional information.
SafetyTerrorist attacks on buses, cafes, night clubs and in general crowded public places in Israel by suicide bombers are unfortunately not unheard of, although the number of such attacks has sharply declined in the past few years (from a high in 2002), and statistically, the chance of being caught in such an attack is much lower than the chance of being involved in a car accident.
In Beer-Sheva since 2000, there were two incidents of this nature.
- On August 31 2004, 18 people were killed, including 2 suicide bombers, and 94 wounded in two separate attacks on local Beer-Sheva buses No 6 and 12. The explosions happened on Rager Street, next to the city hall, some 500 meters from Campus.
- On August 28 2005, a suicide bomber blown himself up next to the entrance to the Central Bus Station in Beer-Sheva, seriously wounding two security guards.
You are more likely to be affected by small hassles involving anti-terrorism measures than by terrorism itself. In particular, you should be careful not to leave any bags unattended in a bus or a public place. People are likely to notify the police of unattended bags, and the police will most likely have them quickly destroyed, as a precaution.
Information about all Israeli victims of Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2000 is avaliable here. Note that the statistics include attacks in the West Bank and Gaza, which are significantly more dangerous than Israel-proper.