Taxis and Car Rentals, Qatar
To date there are no public buses in Doha. Taxis are the standard mode of transportation in town, and are quite cheap. To put 'cheap' in perspective, taxis in Saudi Arabia are twice as expensive. All taxis have meters which usually work. The drivers are generally honest and you may even negotiate a better fare, once you get to know the average local prices. For example, you can hire a cab to take you to three or four shops and drive you and your purchases home. Everything can be arranged...
Qatar does not have the best drivers in the world. That is quite the understatement. BE CAREFUL. If you feel better you can always hire a taxi which may get you out of driving but you won't get away from the traffic. Good luck.
The best ways to get around really depend on what you plan on doing. If you want to relax and enjoy the Ritz's pools and spa facilities, take a taxi from the airport at about 20 QR ($5) per person.
If you are more adventurous, rent a car. Its easy to get around, you just need to drive very defensively as locals are not the greatest drivers. Drive is on the right side of the road like the U.S.
In Doha one needs a car to travel about independently, the alternative (perhaps a better one for short visits, in view of the accident rate) being to use one of the very many orange-coloured taxis, which cruise around looking for fares. If you are in Doha on business, you will probably be provided with a driver for the duration of your stay
Filling station with attached mosque! Does this say something about the driving conditions?...
Major intersections are well signposted in both English and Arabic
On the highway near to Doha Airport
Going by car via Saudi is almost impossible because you need a transit visa and this is realy complicated.
By car or taxi.
You can rent everywhere cars at Avis, Interrent and so on.
In the city traffic can be heavy. Allways think of that they never (!) give sign when they go arround corners or overtake. Most of the intersections are roundabouts and there the traffic can get a mess, be carefull.
Allthough Qatar was once upon british collony, they drive on the right side!
If you wanna go by taxi you have two possibilities:
Orange taxis which are very cheap, but ask for the price first!
Doha Limousine, exclusiv but much more expensive. You can book them for certain hours and then they get cheaper.
In the hotels you can book guided tours through Doha and arround the Peninsulla by bus.
I follow the advise a called Andrew, for a ride to the Airport. The comment said he was reliable. I needed to get to the airport around 6 in the morning. When I talked to Andrew I explained to him what time, and asked him if there would be a problem. He said no, and I asked him 3 times just to make sure. This was 2 days in advance, the day he was suppose to pick me up, he never showed up. I called his cell # several times and he never answered. I was lucky that one of the security guards had a business card for another limo service, and I called him and woke him up, but he came right away. Andrew is not reliable, and I would not trust him to keep his appointments.
Limousines in Doha are quite as fancy as the word might suggest. Limousines there are not stretched Cadillacs but rather new model mid-seized sedans. They act just as taxis for 2-3 times the proce of normal taxi. That said, the fair is dirt cheap for the comfort and service you get.
Of the many limo companies in Doha I recommend Safari Transport. It is reliable and always ready to send a driver to your location.
According to their card Safari Transport offers the following services:
Latest Model Luxury Cars with Smart Drivers
Special Rates for Long Term Service/Contracts
Special Rates for School Trips
Airport Transfer Service
Messenger/Document Delivery Service for Companies
I recommend Safari Transport. It is reliable and always ready to send a driver to your location.
In Doha, call Andrew at 974-5505538. He is not the only driver, but I do vouch for his competency.
Main Office #:
Cell # 974-552-7161
At the moment (Sept.,2005), the only mode of public transport is the taxi. There are two types of taxi now, the orange taxi and the new green (karwa) taxi. The green taxi are all "new" (less than 1 year old) cars while the orange are the "old" ones. It is more expensive to ride the green taxi than the orange. Taxi rates is about QR1 per kilometer travel. By Oct.23,2005, the public air conditioned bus service will be operational in Doha with two bus routes (Routes 33 and 76) from Central Terminal to Industrial and City Center, respectively. And by Dec. 2005, All orange taxi will be "decommissioned". There is no info as to the bus routes and there are still no bus stop seen on the street/ roads, however, according to the news report, the fare per trip is QR2.00.
There are limousine services at hotels but they are very pricey.
Qataris don't know how to drive. You've seen how some people don't know how to drive in places like New York City or Pensacola, Florida. Qataris are 10 times worse. Every intersection is a turnaround, very few stoplights. You need spotters on both sides of the cars to inform the driver of where the other vehicles are trying to run you off the road. Um...make sure you have good brakes, and don't lose your bladder when someone cuts you off or forces you from turning where you want to go. Have fun playing bumper cars.
There is no other possibility to travel around Qatar but a car. Car rental prices are about the same as in any other countries (from 120 QAR (~30 EUR) a day), but fuel is incredibly cheap! (at least comparing to that in the EU). Having a car, you can travel around the whole country in 2-3 days. It's not because there is nothing to see or nothing to do - it's because the country is so small.