Getting Around in Qatar
The Practicalities of Getting Around in Doha and Qatar
Public transport is extremely limited in Doha, although things are starting to get better with the recent introduction of the bus service. Nevertheless, the preferred method of transport remains the car.
Buses are modern and air-conditioned, and now cover 35 routes. They are used mostly by (male) immigrant workers, as most Qataris and ex-pat professionals have cars - and do not like to wait in the hot sun. (Air conditioned bus shelters are planned for the future.) Buses are very reasonably priced, but be aware that there has been some theft on them.
There are a few lunatics who take their life into their own hands by cycling on Doha's roads, although even they tend to drop off in number as summer approaches. Doha is currently not conducive to cycling, although this may change there are plans for a futuristic cooled cycling path to be built in the future.
Cars drive on the right in Qatar. Visitors can drive for one week using driving licences from their country. Hire cars are easily available. Be careful when driving driving in Qatar has been compared to participating in an extreme sport by the US Government. (See the Qatar 2007 Crime and Safety report). The Qatar government has been trying to reduce the number of accidents, and traffic laws are now very strict - although not always enforced.
See our articles on driving for more information.
Again, apart from the Corniche, Doha is not really set up for walking. Qataris generally don't walk to get places, although you will see them on the Corniche. More pedestrian crossings are in place than there used to be, and with traffic lights gradually replacing roundabouts crossing the road has become easier but be aware that red lights are not always respected. In the summer, when the heat can rise to 50 degrees Centigrade, walking becomes unbearable.
There are modern and cheap taxis (Tel: 44 58 8888). However, its not always easy to find one (unless you are at a mall taxi rank). We have tried ordering them a day before via the telephone number above, but they have never turned up - a better alternative is to build up a personal relationship with two or three good taxi drivers, who are often happy to give out their telephone numbers.
Another alternative is to use 'limousine' services. These are effectively un-metered upmarket cabs. They cannot normally be hailed from the street. If you are desperate, you will also find that there are numerous unlicensed cabs who are willing to take you places however, insurance could be problematic if you are involved in a crash.
Qatar, as always, has ambitious plans for the future, and has been developing plans for railways in the future. Plans include: