Transport in Riyadh

Updated 2011-01-10 10:32

As it is illegal for women to drive here, you are totally dependent on being driven either by your husband or a permitted driver. By ‘permitted driver’ I mean someone who is registered to drive i.e. taxi driver or his job is driver. You can get taxis from the street, but to do this you should use the licensed cars where they can provide you with sight of their licence and their cars are branded as a taxi cab and with a licence number. It is best to get these from the shopping malls, hotels or venues where they are established and well known. It is advised to check with them where you wish to go and the charge before taking off as we have heard horror stories of women being charged extortionate rates or just dumped on the side of the road due to attempts to over-charge.

If you live on a Compound, get the Compound to arrange a car for you, some have employed drivers with cars that can be pre-booked ' use them!

If you do not live on a Compound (as many don't), then seek a recommendation from a neighbour, ask someone who works with you or your husband or if you are single, get a recommendation from anyone you see and trust.

Always negotiate a fare upfront and if you require the driver to wait, you need to state this upfront when booking. Agree a waiting charge upfront and this can be anything from 15SR to 35SR, anything above that will be a rip-off! Most taxis will apply a charge per hour, which can be anything from 15SR to 35SR, depending on which part of the City you reside. If you are near or on Compounds, you will find the rates are higher.

Some drivers speak very poor English, so check upfront if they can read English (or whatever your language is) as they may be best to receive your destination by text. Just remember, if they do not understand you, how will they know where to pick you up from and when!

It is advised, especially if travelling at night, to let a friend know if you are travelling by taxi, sms them the registration number of the car, tell they where you are going and sms them when you get there. If the driver is legit, they will not mind you taking down their licence number and registration number. If they object, get out of the car quickly and find another cab.

You can use this blog in the classified section to post a request for trusted taxi drivers or drivers, and see what recommendations you get from here. Or you can go onto the Country forum where you reside i.e. Riyadh and do a post asking for a recommendation for drivers or taxis on there.
Good luck and stay safe.

For Women Expats:

For Men Expats:

Negotiate a car or the very least a driver with a car for you during your time in KSA. If you can, also negotiate in your employment contract a car with driver for your wife as well. Otherwise, the same guidance, as above, applies to you.

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