Transportation Options in Oman ( need help)

Hello everyone

I'm moving to Oman very soon, and I started planing for the various stuff ( accommodation, paper work , lifestyle, food etc. ) one of the biggest challenges I'm facing is with transportation

I have done some research about the various options and I have some questions about them, also I hope that this post would be helpful for the people who just started research on the topic

some background first:
I'm 22, single, and I'm from an  Arab country, I recently graduated from a business school.
My needs are quite normal, commute to  the office  (in Alkhouwayr, Muscat), go shopping in malls etc.  I will live in a nearby area, where all the facilities will be available.

Here are the options:

1- Company car : the company I will work for will not provide me with any means ( although I can negotiate something upon your recommendation )

2- Buy own car : I will be able to put some 700 riyals for a car, but that would get me a 10+ years car and I assume it will cost me a fortune to maintain it. and since I'm not going to stay here for a long time ( maybe 2 years ) I don't want to get a loan. I wont mind a small or a not-too-comfortable car, but the maintenance hustle and cost is a deal breaker. Is it possible to get a car in excellent condition with that amount ?

3- Rent a car on monthly basis : I learned that it would cost as low as 160 OMR a month, I can't afford that on the long run but I could get a rental for the first few months while I figure out what are some other reasonable options I might have, the problem is that I have to pay 250 OMR excess insurance because i'm under 25 ( per low ) which is extremely high for me. I can't risk that amount of money, so renting a car is a not a valid option. ( Sources, this Forum and an email from a salesperson of an international rent-a-car company)

( A car is by far the best mean of transportation for cost, convenience and safety )

4- Scooter : I've never used a scooter before, but I can learn quickly, yet I learned that ROP banned motorcycle registration for expats. I'm not sure if that is applicable just for brand new motorcycles or  for used ones too, and I'm not sure if its applicable for all motorcycle sizes or the big ones only. furthermore I'm concerned about the safety, I'm from an Arab country where the streets are pretty dangerous, and I'm driving a car for 2 years now, but I heard that streets in Oman are another level, one other thing is that I dont know if I need a licence for a small scooter.  ( sources: Times of Oman, this forum and some travel guides)

5- Bicycle: I used my bike for commuting for a long time, in weather conditions similar to Oman's, I don't have a problem with it and I think it's a fun way to move around town, yet the safety problem rise again.

6- Public transportation: I wouldn't use taxis on a daily basis as I heard that the rates are pretty high (NB: Normal taxis have no meters, one should negotiate but the new taxi service provided by mowasalt is a better option : on-call 1.5 OMR + 0.350/KM ) , and I'm not sure about the buses ( Mowasalat ) if they are reliable and comfortable enough ( timing, bus station facilities and condition, whether they get crowded or not etc.),  Although from what I found on the internet, it's a very respectful company and their services and buses are good, I would love to know if that's true in practice. A third mean is the small baisas buses, I heard they are convenient ( availability, coverage), but the experience is not good. ( sources: This forum and Mowasalt's website and social media accounts, and Times of Oman )

For now, my plan is to get a used scooter ( if that's possible) and a bicycle ( I will get a bicycle anyways, I love cycling), use Mowasalat buses in bad weather or when I don't feel like driving or cycling and hire a Mowasalat taxi in extreme situations.

it would be great if you can help me with more information about the options I have mentioned and correct any wrong info I have, and tell me what you think about my situation and my plan.

Thank you very much for your help, And I hope that this thread would help other expats.

Hi abamarani,

You seem to have done your basic groundwork, which is indeed heartening to note. Your post is also very refreshing and quite well-informed.

As you are now familiar with the basics of transportation in Muscat, there is no need to explain anything further to you. So I will respond to your queries only as and where they are needed.

Since you say you would be living and working in Al Khuwair, you do not have any major worries as far as your transportation needs are concerned.

Al Khuwair is perhaps one of the most well-connected neighbourhoods in Muscat, because of its central location. You can choose travelling between the Muwasalat buses (by far the best option), to the Orange taxis, to the 'Coaster' baiza buses easily.

The call-taxi experience in Muscat still has miles to go before it can even come anywhere close to the likes of Ola or Uber. So for now, I shall not even discuss that option.

Taking the Muwasalat buses would be better and safer when compared to the taxis and even the baiza buses. Sexual harassment of expatriates (single expat women more so is still alarmingly high, contrary to what you might have read or heard from some well-meaning folks).

Needless to say, having your own car would be the best option obviously. You will be independent, self-reliant and most importantly, and above all else, safe.  And if your budget is R.O.700/- (as in Omani Rials), then you can well get for yourself a reliable used vehicle. With many expats still leaving the Sultanate for good, landing a decent deal within that budget is quite easy; so keep your eyes and ears open. You must keep this as your first option.

Your research says a rental car is not a viable option for you. So drop that idea.

Your point numbers 4 and 5 too can be discounted since they are non-feasible alternatives.

As you say you love cycling you could perhaps try cycling around. But anything beyond your immediate neighbourhood would come with its own limitations.

You seem to have spent some time reading the other informative posts in the forum. However, just in case you missed it, the following should throw some more light on the subject of transportation in Muscat.

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=106010

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