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In the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, Qatar is heavily investing in transport infrastructure in its capital city, Doha. The multi-billion dollar national rail network is due to be completed by 2020. In the meantime, this article will explore the options you have in how to move around the city.

Doha has a growing transport network and a year-round programme of roadworks. It is a city that is ever growing and ever expanding and as such, routes are also constantly changing. Most people in Qatar reside in the capital city, Doha.

Cars

Cars are perhaps the easiest way to move around in Doha, especially if you are living in the outer suburbs of Doha. As there are so many expatriates coming and going, used cars are frequently being bought and sold.

However, while you are finding your bearings, you may want to consider renting a car.

Please refer to the article on driving licences and driving in Qatar for more information and useful links. You may be required to take a driving test to gain a Qatari licence or at the very least, transfer your existing licence so you are eligible to drive in Qatar.

Taxi

Taxis are also very popular, widely available, and relatively cheap. These are provided by Mowasalat Karwa which is the national transport company. The turquoise blue taxis are usually comfortable and equipped with a meter which will be started as soon as you get in. Fares and rates vary depending on the time of day and whether the destination is within Doha or not.

There are also a number of alternatives to the official Karwa taxis. Two of the main alternatives are Uber and Careem.

Uber is commonly used in the city and is slightly more expensive than Karwa but has some advantages. Firstly, you do not need to pay in cash and secondly, there will be a fixed rate and no possibility of having to haggle or being overcharged for your journey by the driver. If you are in need of a regular driver, you may also negotiate a weekly or monthly rate with them.

Careem is another alternative and offers the facility to book in advance and schedule a time slot. You may still need cash to pay your driver.

All 3 services offer an app for iPhone and android phones.

Bus

Mowasalat also provides a public bus service across the capital. Journeys can be paid for with the Karwa smart card system. You will need to register for a smart card at the arrivals desk in Hamad airport or Doha Bus Station. It is also possible to do this on the bus itself. There are three types of smart cards available:

Classic Card (Cost: QR.30)

Rechargeable card for long-term use.

Top-up amount in multiples of Qr.10

Limited Card, 24hr (Cost: QR.10)

Good for two journeys within 24-hrs of purchase.

Unlimited Card, 24hr (Cost: QR.20)

Good for unlimited journeys within 24-hrs of purchase.

The main bus terminal is found close to Souq Waqif. More information on the smart cards is available here.

  Good to know:

The 777 bus from the airport will take you to some of the major stops in Doha including West Bay, The City Centre, and the Pearl. Buses should run approximately every 20 minutes between 5:00 AM and midnight, and is 5 QR. If you are staying in these areas, this will be a cheaper option than the taxi from the airport. The bus route map itself is found here.

There is also a bus shuttle service stopping at hotels and other landmarks in the West Bay area. The single circular route offers 36 stops and runs every 12 minutes, from 6 am to 9 pm, seven days per week. The service was previously free but as of 1 April 2018, there will be a modest fee for using it. Please call 44588650 for more information.

Traffic

Driving during peak rush hours (5-7pm) can be challenging. There can be reckless drivers on the road and your journeys may take significantly longer. The quietest time to enjoy a peaceful drive would be on a Friday during the morning prayers (from 11 am).

A rolling programme of roadworks means that routes are constantly changing. Use the app ‘Waze’ to make sure you are up to date. From drivers’ experiences here in Doha, Google Maps and Apple Maps are not as accurate.

Ongoing projects

Several projects are currently underway in Doha in order to reduce traffic jam and further improve the public transport network. Among these projects, you have the setting up of the Doha Metro with major stops across the city and stretching as far as Al Wakra, Lusail, and Al Riffa. A big metro hub, Msheireb is being built in the downtown area of Doha. It will be a major business and residential hub with a tram service. The new city of Lusail is also under development. There are plans for a light railway in this location.

There have been discussions and preliminary planning of a major project, The Gulf Railway, which would cover the entire Persian Gulf, including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. However, due to diplomatic tensions and the current embargo from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, this may not happen anytime soon.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.