Transport in Bahrain

Travelling around Bahrain
Updated 2020-02-24 12:51

Bahrain is a small country covering only 765.3 square kilometres; nothing is far away in Bahrain. Travelling throughout the country is easy and relatively quick, although traffic can be a problem at peak times. Most expats prefer to have their own car for the convenience of travelling to and from work, and for leisure at the weekends. Taxis are widespread, and there is a bus service. There is only one airport on the island, currently undergoing a major upgrade.

Cars in Bahrain

Most expats in Bahrain prefer to own a car, for convenience and freedom of travel. Expats should obtain a local licence although short-term residents are able to drive on their national or international licence.

Roads and highways in the country are generally maintained to a high standard, and road signs are in both English and Arabic. The minimum age to drive in Bahrain is 18, and driving is done on the right side. Drivers in Bahrain can be erratic, so drive defensively and be aware of all the road rules and regulations before setting off.

Driving while eating, drinking, and/or smoking is prohibited, and Bahrain has zero-tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Traffic can be very heavy around school drop off and pick up times, and during the evening rush hour, with parking also at a premium in some areas.

See Driving in Bahrain for further information.

 Good to know: 

The emergency services number, in case of an accident and serious emergencies, is 999. Traffic police can be reached on 199.

Air travel in Bahrain

There is only one airport in the country for commercial air travel - Bahrain International Airport. This is the main point of entry and exit for most expats, and serves airlines flying to and from other Middle Eastern countries, Africa, Europe, and Asia. There is no domestic air travel in Bahrain, owing to the country's small size. The national air carrier is Gulf Air, providing flights from Bahrain across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Buses in Bahrain

A regular bus network serves the country, with many public bus routes operating daily. The buses are well-maintained and are mostly used by those who do not have a car. Bus timetables can be confusing, so confirm your route with a staff member before boarding. The public buses are operated by the government, Bahrain Public Transport Company.

Frequent bus users should obtain a GO Card, which allows travellers to jump on and off and pre-load money onto their account. The cards can be reused and are obtainable from ticket offices and vending machines throughout the Kingdom.

Taxis in Bahrain

Taxis can be found throughout Bahrain. Drivers are generally honest, and fares are reasonable. Taxis are distinctive: usually orange and white, orange and gold or a chequered black and white roof. A sign with the word "Taxi" in English and Arabic is prominently displayed on the roof, and the registration number of the vehicle will also be displayed on the rear side quarter under the word "Taxi". They can be hailed at the roadside but also have designated ranks outside shopping centres, hotels, etc. Several operators now have "apps" you can use to order your taxi and check its progress.

By law, taxis must have a working meter, which should only be operated once the passenger enters and the journey begins. If a taxi driver claims the meter is not working, it is best to jump out and hire another cab. Passengers should also ask the driver to confirm the approximate fare before setting off.

Shared taxis are an alternative, and as their name suggests, you could be sharing your ride with one or more fellow passengers. These taxis are recognised by a yellow circle on the driver's door containing the taxi licence number. Shared taxis have several designated pick-up points, and often they will "hail" you on the street by tooting the horn, if they see you walking. Meters are not used, and fares vary depending on destination, but they are less expensive than regular taxis. Agree on the price of your journey before you start. Tips are not expected from passengers.

Be aware that there are many unlicensed operators in the country, and you could be charged an exorbitant fare if you use one of these. These drivers are operating illegally and are not insured to carry fare-paying passengers.

Trains in Bahrain

There are no railways in Bahrain. However, there are plans afoot to build a surface metro system. The first phase from the airport to Seef is scheduled to be completed by 2023.

 Useful links:

Bahrain Bus Map and Timetable
Gulf Air
Kingdom of Bahrain eGovernment Portal, Driving Licence
Bahrain International Airport
Bahrain Public Bus Company
GO Card
Bahrain Taxi
Arabian Taxi

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