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Taxis rule in Bahrain and can become quite expensive if you are not careful. I have found that it is best to find a driver that you like and who will take care of you to have for a night out instead of waiting for whatever taxi you can find. I have used a driver named "Shaker" at Road Master and he is very good. Not only does Road Master run taxis in town, they will also drive you to Qatar or Saudi Arabia if you need it.
Taxis in Bahrain will rip you off. From the minute you arrive at the airport, and anywhere you try to travel, they try to overcharge you. Meters routinely don't work, and they even try to charge you to turn on the AC. It's much easier and cheaper to rent a car. There is no public transport to talk of in Bahrain, and it's too hot to walk, so a car is a must if you are here for any length of time. If you don't fancy this, or want a taxi for a special occasion, then phone either Speedy Motors (17682999) or Bahrain Limo (17266266). Their taxis are all metered and clean and very cheap, but you have to book well in advance and in busy times, forget it.
TAXI DRIVERS IN BAHRAIN ARE MOSTLY LOCALS. METERS ARE PRESENT BUT TAXIS DON'T GO BY METER. YOU NEED TO FIX THE PRICE BEFORE YOU HIRE THEM. ANYWHERE IN MANAMA ITS BETWEEN 3$ TO 5$. LANGAUGE IS ANOTHER PROBLEM BUT THEN THEY UNDERSTAND SOME ENGLISH WORDS. IF YOU KNOW HINDI, NATIONAL LANGUAGE OF INDIA, THEN YOUR JOB IS EASIER.
When booking a hotel, check which provide free transport to/from the airport. Paying an extra 30-40 $ a night may be worth it, if you get a better horel PLUS free transport (which saves you the 30-40 dollars that you will pay for the taxi return fare)
The best way to avoid being stung by taxi drivers is to ask the hotel reception to arrange for a taxi. The taxi's used by them are usually cleaner and in a better state than the ones you flag down on the street. They will also be able to tell you how much a trip should cost (on average).
If the taxi driver way over charges, mention it to the person in the hotel who booked your taxi on your return. Most taxis at hotels get their business from people they know at reception desks or at the door. If they get complaints they won't be used any more.
A lot has been said about Bahraini taxi drivers and how they rip people off. Like with any tourist area you need to be on your guard and use your common sense. Most taxi drivers will put a cloth over the meter when a western person gets in their taxi. Just ask them to remove it and put the normal meter on. If they refuse, just get out and flag down another taxi, you would be amazed how quick the cloth dissapears. It really is as simple as that.
there are two types of taxis in bahrain:
1 - the usual four seater, you'll spot these easily because they have bright orange wheel hubs.
2 - the pick up trucks - see picture - these are usually cheaper and you'll share them with other people.
those taxi drivers are terrible. last week my car broke down and i had to use the taxis. the drivers do not want to use the meters - even when i threatened to get out of the taxi he couldn't find his meter. please don't accept this - leave the taxi - it really is a problem here. i wouldn't mind so much if the taxis were in working order, but they are knackered!
At Least Do This:
don't accept their first offer, second or even third offer. ask for the meter to be turned on and keep asking until the taxi driver does turn on the meter. otherwise, leave the car at the first available point.
the limo taxis appeared to be more expensive - but they are clean, new mercedes. very nice! if you tel 17 801999 they'll come and pick you up. you'll find that if you're new to bahrain, and in manama town, these taxis will probably work out to be cheaper and definately will be far less hastle than using the waiting taxis.
One of my worst memories of Bahrain and a disgrace to the overall fraud-free country: TAXI FRAUD! I stayed quite long in Bahrain and had to use taxis on a regular basis. See below what's important:
It is mandantory for official taxis (orange-white / orange-gold colour) in Bahrain to use their meters and fixed fares.
However, most drivers first try to fool new vistors by stating completely overpriced fares for a route. Many visitors agree as they do not SEE the installed meter as it is often HIDDEN by the driver (e.g. behind a cover or the infamous box of Kleenex ;)
Insist on a metered fare or you will be ripped off!! Repeat it 1 or 2 times and you'll see it works (oops, there IS the bloody meter...:)
Generally, stopping one of the many taxis from the street is cheaper than taking a waiting taxi as they charge you also for their "waiting time".
Especially during praying time (see newspapers), on Fridays and around the mega malls it can be difficult to find a taxi.
To be sure you make it in time, you can order a RADIO TAXI. There is only one company offering this service, so its recommendable to order in time.
Telephone 682999 in Manama. Fares a slighly higher, ca. 20%. Still, mostly hassle-free.
By the way, make sure at least YOU know approx. where to go. Many drivers don`t know the city very well or young cousins take over uncle's car for a while - double-check that the driver knows the area you head for! Otherwise you might end up with some extra Dinar on the meter.
Have fun exploring Bahrain!
Taxi rides can be cheap or expensive.
Bahraini taxi drivers are sometimes rude and will always refuse to use the meter. They will attempt to charge 3, 4 or even 5 times the metered fare. You should be able to get anywhere in Manama for 1-3 Bahrain Dinars (BD) if the cab ride is metered - that's about $3 to $8 US. Bahraini cab drivers will try to charge 5-8 BD ($13-$20 US).
If you're going somewhere by cab, try to use Radio Taxi. Their drivers, usually Indian, always use the meter, speak English and are extremely polite. Radio Taxi dispatch can be reached at 682-999. Call an hour or more in advance if possible since their taxis are in high demand.
Taxis are easy, so is renting a car. Traffic can be a little bad at times, but nothing like other places in the world. There's even a causeway (bridge) that goes to Saudi Arabia. You can drive halfway across if you don't have a Saudi Visa.
If you are female then the best way to get to Bahrain is by plane. There is a bridge from Saudi but women are not aloud to drive on the Saudi half.
Taxi is by far the best way, car hire is available at compairable rates to the UK. If you are staying out of Manama remember most of the streets have numbers not names if may be worth writing your adress down before you go out.
There is a causeway from Dahran in Saudi, but let's assume that you are going to fly in.
There are taxis that look like normal yellow cabs, but the way to get about
[the few busses are for workers only, so forget it!] is by pickup.
When I was in Kuwait before moving to Bahrain, they were called 'wanette',
but when I tried this word in Bahrain , the pick-up drivers looked amused.
I found out later the origin of the term: the first pickups in the gulf were Chevy 1.8's,
soon to be known as 'one-eight's'. Hence, 'Wannette'.