There are no public train, tram or metro systems operating in Qatar or Doha. A metro and integrated railway network is planned for Doha and Qatar and construction is due to begin in 2013. This project will be overseen by Qatar Railways (Qatar Rail).
There is a public bus system in Doha, and between Doha and other towns. It is run by the government-owned Mowasalat.
Buses in Doha are air-conditioned and modern with an area reserved at the front for women and children. You can catch a bus in Doha at designated bus stops. Outside of the city you can flag buses on major inter-city highways. Bus routes can be found on the Mowasalat website.
To travel by bus in Doha passengers must purchase a Karwa Smartcard which replaced cash fares in 2011. Cards are swiped upon boarding and disembarking the bus, and the fee for the distance travelled is debited. Fares within the city are QR 3-4, and fares from Doha to other towns are QR 4-9.
Smartcards can be purchased at the Al Ghanim bus station, located at Grand Hamad Street, and other small vendors throughout the city. A full listing of vendors can be found on the Karwa Smartcard website. Cards can be topped up at the vendors they are sold at, and at a vending machine at the Al Ghanim bus station. Smartcards cost QR 30; QR 20 of this is credit towards fares, while QR 10 is held until a cumulative total of QR 300 has been used on the card. If you travel on a bus without a Smartcard, you will be charged a "No card fee" of QR 30.
Private boats are available to travel to Al Safliya island in Doha's harbor for 1400-2000 Riyal round trip. Dhow (traditional sailboat) trips are also available around the city's harbor. Water taxis are also available from the Pearl Qatar development.
The country's main airport is Doha International (DOH), located 5 kilometers south of Doha's city centre. DOH is a major international hub, with 23 airlines operating out of this airport. DOH has free WiFi, shopping, and dining facilities. Departure and arrival information can be accessed through DOH's web site.
A new airport, Hamad International, is expected to open in late 2013. Located a thirty minute journey from Doha's West Bay, Hamad International (HIA) will replace DOH when it opens. DOH will then be used for general aviation college and military operations. HIA will also have free WiFi, shopping and dining facilities. Bus routes to Hamad International Airport info can be found here.
Qatar's national carrier is Qatar Airways, which is headquartered at Qatar Airways Tower in Doha, and fly's to 100 destinations.
Shuttle: Hotels in Doha can arrange airport shuttles through private drivers.
Bus: To DOH: Routes 19, 119, and 49. Detailed route information on the Mowasalat website.
Drive: To DOH: 10 km or 25 minutes from West Bay. From the city centre, drive along the Corniche, take Al Areesh Street to the airport.
Taxi: To DOH: Karwa Taxi service, +974 4458 8888, 25 QR
Qatar has a government-run taxi service overseen by the Mowasalat company (the same company that oversees Doha's public bus system).
Doha's bus system is modern, but can be very busy during peak times and overstretched during peak times. Taxis in Doha are air-conditioned, and can be spotted by their distinctive green colour.
You can arrange taxi pick-ups by calling 4458 8888, however, you may wait a long time during peak hours for a taxi to arrive. You are permitted to hail cabs on the street, but this can also be difficult during peak times. Cabs congregate at malls and hotels, where it is sometimes easier to hail them.
Karwa Taxi and Bus
Phone: +974 4458 8888
Besides using the Karwa taxi service, you can also hire a private driver or limousine.
Al Watan Limousine Company
Phone: +974 4447 7999
Cost: 30 QR inside Doha, 60 QR outside Doha
Chauffeur Car Rental
Phone: +974 4444 5456
Phone: +974 4444 2111
Cost: 50-60 QR for 1 hour, 30 QR for 7 km, 500 QR for full day
Phone: +974 4460 7227
Al Afdhal Transport Company
Phone: +974 4488 0177
Cost: 25 QR for 3 km, 30 QR for 6 km, 40 QR for 10 km, 500 QR for full day
Phone: +974 7744 0531
Phone: +974 4462 2777
Pick Quick Rent a Car and Transport
Phone: +974 4418 2225
Afsal Limousine Taxi Service
Phone: +974 5505 1864
Phone: +974 4441 8144
Cost: 25 QR for up to 5 km, 35 QR for up to 10 km plus 2 QR for every additional km
Taxis in Doha are metered. An initial charge of QR 4 applies, with a rate of QR 1.20 per kilometer thereafter during the day and QR 1.80 during the night.
If you book a cab by phone, a QR 4 booking charge applies.
Publicly run limousine services (Karwa) charge QR 20 as a base rate and QR 2 every kilometer thereafter, day and night.
You can drive in Qatar using a foreign driver's license for 7 days from the date of your arrival. You can drive using an International Driving permit for up to 6 months in Qatar. After this you will need to apply for a temporary or permanent Qatari driving license. You can only apply for a driving license in Qatar if you have a residence permit. Application forms can be downloaded at the Ministry of Interior's web site.
Driving speeds are high in Qatar and minor accidents are common. Wide roundabouts are commonly used, without lights or other regulatory features, which can be intimidating to expat drivers. A good way to gather a sense of confidence when first driving in the city is to drive on Friday, the day of prayer in Doha, when roads are less busy.
It is an offense to leave the scene of an accident in Qatar. If you are involved in an accident - stay with your vehicle. However, if no one has been injured and it is safe to do so you may move your vehicle to a safer place. You will need to obtain a police report for insurance purposes. Traffic offenses can be paid online through the Ministry of Interior's web site or at bilingual MOI self-service kiosks located at the Villaggio Shopping Mall, Landmark Shopping Mall, and Qatar Post Headquarters.
Buying and running a car in Qatar is considerably cheaper than in Europe, as fuel is much cheaper and the retail price of a car can be half as much as buying elsewhere. Most major carmakers have dealerships in Doha. To purchase a car in Qatar you must:
All cars in Qatar must be registered with the Ministry of Interior's Traffic Department, but for new car purchases this is usually taken care of by the dealership. Cars in Qatar are left-hand drive.
To buy a second hand car in Qatar you can go through a dealership or classifieds. You can find classifieds online, in newspapers, and on Easy Expat's expat classifieds. When purchasing a used car, ownership must be transferred between the buyer and seller as part of the registration process.
To import a vehicle to Doha you must first obtain a residence permit. If you are deciding whether to import a car or not, take into account the value of your vehicle and similar vehicles in Qatar. The import duty on cars in Qatar is 5% of the vehicle's value.
Imported vehicles must be registered within fourteen days of arriving in Qatar. You must also purchase temporary insurance for QR 100 when your vehicle enters the country. When importing a car to Qatar, you must present proof of:
Imported vehicles must also pass a vehicle test that is carried out by Fahres on behalf of Doha's Police. The fee for this test is QR 75, and it must be carried out before your car is registered.
For more information on imports, refer to our section on Customs and Import..
To register a vehicle in Doha you must obtain an application form from the Ministry of Interior's Traffic Department. Their offices are open from 07:00 to 11:00 and 6:00 to 19:00.
To register a car in Qatar, submit:
If you are registering a used car, the seller must be present and both you and the seller must present your ID cards and residence permits. A transfer of vehicle ownership (Public Services and Transportation > Transfer Vehicle Ownership) and renewal (Public Services and Transportation > Renew Vehicle Registration)can be done online.
You can rent a small car for 75 QR to 200 QR per day, to 2,000 QR per month. International chains such as Hertz, Avis, Thirfty, Budget, Sixt, Europcar, etc. are located at the Doha airport and throughout the city. You can also rent from local, private garages, which are normally cheaper and offer discounts for longer rentals (i.e. one month or more).
To rent a vehicle, you must have a valid driver's license, insurance certificate, vehicle registration, and passport/ID.