Things you thought you didn’t need, but actually do:By Valeri Garcia October, 2014
How to Get Around Doha
It is no secret that the primary way to easily get around Doha is by car. However, what ends up actually being a secret is that there are many other ways to maneuver around Doha that are just as easily overlooked. So, I present to you a spectrum – ranging from the most “mainstream” mode of transportation to the “hipster” ones that most people didn’t even know existed.
1. Mowasalat’s Karwa
If not the most popular form of transportation in Doha, Mowasalat boasts over a thousand Karwa Taxis to patrol around the streets of Doha. The Karwa fleet can be quickly distinguished by their blue and silver themed taxis, and can be booked in advance for pick-ups. Telephone Number: 458 888888. Pros: Cheaper than most options. Can be easily hailed in the streets. Cons: As the company is trying to expand quickly, the drivers tend to be very new in the country and may have to ask you for directions on how to get to your destination, with occasionally, the added language barrier. Have to book way in advance – at least 3 hours beforehand, especially if the pick-up is in the afternoon/evening! Pro-Tip: Insists on the meter – if not, you may not be getting a fair price!
2. Other Private Taxi Subsidiaries – Al Million and Al Ijarah Taxis
As Qatar attempts to allow more taxi companies to operate in Doha, these are the two main ones that are in the forefront. Al Million and Al Ijarah taxis work very similarly to Mowasalat’s Karwa Taxi but can be identified by their differing color schemes – having maroon and dark blue top stickers respectively.
Pros: As cheap as Karwa Taxis.
Cons: Very similar cons to Karwas – may need guidance with directions with added language barrier with taxi drivers.
3. Fox Limousine
Although Fox Limousine doesn’t necessarily offer the traditional “limousine” you have in mind, they do offer private sedans that can take you anywhere around the city, with just a phone call in advance.
Telephone Number: 44622777
Pros: Efficient and punctual. Clean taxis. Knowledgeable on how to get to multiple locations.
Cons: Might be a little bit more expensive – with the average final fee being 50 riyals.
Uber opened its services in Doha in January 2014. Through its app, it has managed to connect passengers to drivers nearby, fully equipped with GPS and driver profiles. Uber is functional in over 70 countries.
How it works:
a) Download the uber app in your smart phone by going to Uber’s website: www.uber.com/app
b) Register your account using a credit card.
c) Select your pick up location using the Uber App and the driver will arrive typically in 15 minutes. Pros: Hassle Free – everything works on GPS. No need to carry cash around with you. Cons: You need a credit card to activate the service. Additionally, you may not like the fact your private information – photo, name, gender – may be publicly available in your profile.
Similar to the Uber app, Careem also allows its customers to order a private car in its app, track their cars in real time and pay using their credit cards. Careem has been operational in multiple cities around the region including: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Karachi, as well as a couple of cities like Boston and San Francisco.
How it works:
a) Download the Careem App through Android’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.
b) Select your pick up and destination locations as well as when you need the ride – all of which will take all less than a minute!
c) Pay through your credit card.
Pros: As hassle-free as Uber – everything works on GPS and no cash needed!
Cons: Might be a little pricey with average final fee being around 45 to 50 riyals.
6. QF Shuttle Buses
Or we can go old school, and take advantage of the QF Shuttle Buses going to many of Doha’s shopping malls during the week. Most buses leave for City Center, Landmark or Villagio at 6PM, outside the Shamali Building. More specific timings and locations is available from the Front Desk.
Cons: Limited locations.
Pro-tip: If you’re going to a place near any of the malls, you can get a taxi in one of the stands and hitch a ride from there, rather than paying for the full price from the Residence Halls.
7. Alijarah’s Pink Limousine Service
Alijarah’s Pink Limousine is Qatar’s first female driver service and can easily be made available through a quick phone to their operator. Alijarah currently has 20 female drivers driving Nissan Altima 2013 cars, equipped with GPS. This service costs a flat fee of 30 riyals.
Telephone Number: 88004488
Pros: Feeling of safety for our female students being driven around by a female driver.
Cons: Might have to book in advance as there are not a lot of drivers available.
8. West Bay Bus
The Qatar Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning launched a free-of-charge bus shuttle service to reduce traffic congestion around in the city. The West Bay Bus provides stops between famous West Bay tourist areas and residences in West Bay Hotels.
9. Mathaf Shuttle Bus
The Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) started a free shuttle bus – the Mathaf Shuttle Buses. This is to increase accessibility between two of Doha’s famous museums: the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. The bus offers around 30 seats and will pick up tourists from the MIA Park and Mathaf bus stops. This service is operational from Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm.