Taxis / driving, Bahrain
The previous tips mention the problem of taxis overcharging in Bahrain. However, just recently (end of 2008), all taxis have to put on their meters when accepting a fare and if they don't, the ride is free. They all have a sticker on the window saying this now. There are still ways of adding additional money to the fare, though. Last week I took a taxi from one hotel to another hotel. When the taxi arrived, it already had BD 1.2 on the meter and then when we got to the second hotel, the driver added another BD 2 to the fare, by clicking some buttons on his meter. The total was now BD 3.6 (around $10) for a journey of less than five minutes that we could've walked if I hadn't been wearing high heels. He said the extra money was because we called the taxi from a hotel - first I've heard of that rule! We gave him BD 2 and left, with him shouting at us from behind. So be aware. Because taxi drivers have got away with charging basically what they liked for so long, they are not happy with the new rules, as it means that are their fares are drastically reduced. So they are looking for ways to amend the real fare. Don't let them get away with it!
Meters have been installed for umpteen years in Bahrain and I was NEVER able to get a driver to switch it on, I was there for more than 15 years. It was always "pay .....as you like" then if you did not negotiate a reasonable rate beforehand it will definitely end in tears.
You will definitely get a better deal by calling Speedy Motors, they make strict use of the meters, are clean, efficient and reliable. They will pick you up from the airport, and you will not have to wait long.
Apart from Speedy Motors, the taxis in Bahrain are a disgrace. You have been warned.
Most cabs in Bahrain work on the barter system, so if you have no idea where you are going? Well let's say you will have a ride.
1. Always barter before sitting in the cab! This can be bad because you just want to get into the AC and out of the heat quickly.
2. Ensure they know exactly where you want to go.
3. Ensure prices are clearly for all passengers, I.E. they may say " Oh my friend, that was the price per person!"
4. Note: Meters have now been introduced, so make sure they are used if fitted in your taxi. Taxis taken from a rank are more expensive and after midnight all fares are subject to 50% surcharge. You may also phone for a radio Taxi cab. Fares for these are metered.
Call Speedy Motors Radio Taxis
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 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!
Bahrain is a very safe place to travel to. The only warning that I could even think of would be involving traffic. The streets can get extremely crowded, and if you're used to driving in the States, then you will need to learn a few things. Round a bouts are everywhere, and some of them have 3-4 lanes going into them. I have been told the locals way of driving is that whose ever bumper is ahead, then that car has the right away. And what I mean by this, is that cars will pull out in front of you or turn in front of you no matter what the speeds are. Even though this feels like someone is cutting you off, it's not that.... they feel that they can overtake your lane (States it's called passing) with the understanding that you may need to do the same sometime. So, be polite and let them overtake, and you will notice that they will return the favor. Also, for those not used to hearing car horns, be warned...... horns are used here more than New York City. But the use of the horn is not a long jester, it's just a fast tap on the horn. Horn beeps have varoius meanings.... someone is doing something wrong, someone is in the way, someone is about to hit another vehicle, someone is going to slow, someone wants to allow someone else through, taxi's get pedestrians attention to see if they would like a ride, a hello jester, a wanker jester, the light has turned yellow and someone isn't moving yet. So there are so many different jesters for the horn, but it is used frequently.
These are not your normal speed bumps. This are just like hills. We hit it going to fast. I thought we broke the car we was in.