Most Common Parking Lots
There are quite a few different parking lots just in Israel. Parking in Israel is made less stressful by these lots, not to say that it completely relieves the problem of parking, but definitely alleviates it a bit. While many of these lots are just on gravel, others are much more sophisticated.
Mall and Hospital Parking
Most malls in Israel today have parking lots, which are multi-level. These lots are concrete floored, with lighting, and security. In some of the malls, you have parking lots where you must pay; regardless of where you are going in the mall, payment is by the hour and even a short stay of 10 minutes will cost you money. Other malls, give you free parking if you are going to a certain store, or sometimes the first hour is free, so a short visit will not cost money.
The hospitals are varying; however it seems that the larger hospitals have the same system as the malls, with the tickets that must be paid at machines. Usually there is a very limited number of machines, and the parking is not in a multi-story building, so leaving the lot can be very time consuming, due to the system of payment.
Strange and Unusual Payment System from an American’s Point of View
The strangest thing about parking in Israel is the way that payment is made in hospitals or mall parking lots. While in the USA, the driver takes a ticket upon entrance to the parking lot and then pays a person in a booth on the way out, this is not how it is done in Israel. The ticket is given from a machine on entrance, so that is the same, however in order to leave the mall or hospital, the payment is made through machines which the parking ticket is fed into, an amount is shown to be paid, and the ticket is stamped (by the machine) after the payment is accepted by the machine. Upon leaving the lot, the ticket is entered into another machine, which then opens the gate to allow you to exit.
This method of parking is much cheaper for the parking lot, since the owners do not have to pay people to stand in booths; on the other hand, it is more inconvenient for those that park, since they are at the mercy of the machines, waiting to use the machines, sometimes with very long lines, and any discrepancy takes a long time to work out (like all machines for snacks or drinks in the USA.)
The smaller lots which are privately owned, like most of the lots belonging to Tsahi Merkur of Success Parking, the payment is either made upon entry to a person in a booth, or sometimes more informally, where the operator of the parking is found easily upon entry to the parking lot. These small lots are usually located in places where the entry and exit is closer to the center of town and going into and out of the lots in very simple, with no time wasted. Most of these lots are pay by the hour or for a full day. Many workers or travelers prefer these lots, since the bureaucracy is much less and the price is fixed, with no questions or problems of any sort, fighting with a machine or waiting to talk to a person if the machine steals your money or doesn’t function properly.