Qatar

Transportation

Most people get around by car in Qatar. Limited public transport is available, but not widely used. Metered taxis are abundant, however you will not find them waiting in front of Shell housing or office, therefore it is advisable to book your trips in advance. Roads in Qatar are quite busy and there are some aggressive drivers on the road. Navigating the big round-abouts can be quite daunting at first, therefore we advise to first take driving trips in Doha on a Friday morning, when the roads are quiet. Shell provides employees and spouses with a Defensive Driving Course, which is mandatory for employees and highly recommend for spouses.

Shell transport

For employees, Shell offers transportation from the main Shell compounds and hotels to the Shell locations.

  • For employees working in Ras Laffan it is compulsory to travel by Shell transportation to and from Ras Laffan.
  • For employees working at Al Mirqab office in West Bay or at the Research Center it is optional to travel by Shell transportation.

Pick up locations as of Feb 2016 are: Qipco compound, Porto Arabia 2, Al Rayyan Village, 9 Pearls, the following hotels: W, Marriott Courtyard, Ritz Carlton, Grand Hyatt Hilton and Intercontinental the City or Barwa Village, ICC/E-ring, Ezdan Mall, Al Saad/Bin Mahmoud/Bin Omraan, Al Khor. Please contact us for a recent overview of the bus services.

Taxis

Metered taxis are abundant; they are clean, well maintained vehicles and safe to use. For the most part, drivers speak English and are knowledgeable. However, in your first weeks, we recommend you to show your destination on google maps or to carry a map so you can point out exactly where you want to go. Taxis can be hailed on the street, but don’t expect to see them queuing near any of Shell’s compounds. Therefore it is advisable to book your trips in advance. Booking taxis can be done by calling one of the companies, or booking through apps like Uber and Careem.

There are a few options:

  • Mowasalat (Qatar’s public transport provider) runs the distinctive turquoise colored Karwa taxis. Karwa taxis can be ordered in advance by calling 4458 8888 – please be aware that they are generally booked up on the weekends and during holidays (i.e. Ramadan). The prices are reasonable and tipping is usually made by rounding up the fare.
  • White limousine taxis are run by many different companies, they are more expensive than the Karwa taxis, but also more reliable for bookings. Most drivers will give you their card, so if you are happy with the service, you can contact them for future trips. One of the companies that run white limousine taxis is Fox transport (+974 4462 2777). You can also hire them for regular trips, such as drop off at work, school run, etc.

Driving license

To obtain a driving license in Qatar a theory and road test will have to be taken after the Residence Permit has been issued. The whole process will take approximately 4 weeks if the test is passed in two attempts.

With an international driving license, people who are still on a tourist visa will be allowed to drive in Qatar. However as soon as the Residence permit is issued the international license will no longer be valid.

Shell Defensive Driving Course

If you drive a company vehicle or private vehicle on company-related business, you must ensure your defensive driving is up-to-date. Defensive driver training is available for Shell employees and their spouses. The course consists of a theory session and a practical driving session, in which you will receive tips to drive safely in Qatar. Your Defensive Driving Certificate is valid for only two years. To find out available timings and to book a Defensive Driver Training or Defensive Driver Refresher course, please contact: J.Lazarevski@shell.com

Car rental

Please find below a list of car rental companies. You will need your passport, driving licence and credit card to rent a vehicle. Avis offers Shell discount. It would be worthwhile to ask the others for discounts too.

Avis Rent a Car: www.avisqatar.com

Al‐Muftah Rent a car: www.rentacardoha.com

Oasis Cars: www.oasiscars.net

Europcar: www.europcar.com/car‐QATAR.html

FOX Transportation: www.foxtransport.net

Hertz Almana Rent a Car: www.hertz.qa/rentacar/reservation/

Prestige Rent a Car: www.prestigecarsco.com/

Sixt Rent a Car: www.sixt.com/car‐rental/qatar/doha

Thrifty Car Rental: www.thrifty.com

Budget Rent a Car: www.budgetqatar.com/

Purchasing a car

 Purchasing a car in Qatar is relatively easy. Things to consider:

  • Do you want a car that can drive in the desert? If so a desert worthy SUV is a must. Please note that not all 4x4 cars perform well in the desert, therefore please consult other expatriates about brands and makes.
  • Do you want to carpool with another family for the school run? If so, a car with 5-6 seats in the back is recommended.  
  • Do you want to buy a new or pre-owned car?
    • New cars: Vehicle Dealerships usually have new cars ready for sale, so once the payment is done you will be able to pick the car up fairly quickly. The dealership will assist with vehicle registration, insurance, warranty and maintenance. 
    • Pre-owned cars: Adverts can be found on bulletin boards in the Shell offices and online on the Outpost Facebook group and Facebook groups of compounds. We recommend you to always have a pre-owned car inspected prior to purchasing. Both seller and buyer must register change of ownership with the traffic department. Please note that you will need to have 12 month car insurance policy in place before you can register the car in your name. If a car is older than 3 years, an inspection is required at the time of registration.
    • Financing: Vehicle finance loans are offered by most of the local banks.
    • Insurance: Third party insurance is mandatory in Qatar. It covers property damage and injuries to third party. A comprehensive insurance will also cover damage to your own car, other drivers of your car (with Qatari license), and injury to drivers and passengers related to you. Please note that for non-related passengers you will need Passenger insurance. Dune bashing and off-roading is generally not covered by insurances and may require an additional policy. For more information about insurances and insurance companies, please check the Inside Guide.

Driving lessons

There are 4 driving schools in Doha for those who require driving lessons (a must for people arriving with certain driving licenses). Outpost Qatar can provide the details of these schools. The driving test contains both an oral test and a road test. The test is taken in a manual transmission car.

Public transportation

There is very limited public transportation available in Qatar.

Public bus transport through Mowasalat is available, but is not widely used yet. For more information, please visit: Mowasalat bus services

Within West bay, there is a West Bay Bus shuttle which runs every 15 minutes and stops at all the major hotels, malls and office and residential building in West Bay. For more information, please visit: West Bay Shuttle

For tourists, there is a Hop-On-Hop-Off system called Doha Bus

Qatar currently has no rail system but is in the process of constructing one.

Hiring a driver

Dual career families with children, often consider hiring a driver for the school run and daily commute. These drivers will receive a monthly salary, will generally be available from 6am until 6pm to drive for the family and will drive the family car. For more information about hiring a driver, please contact Outpost Qatar.

Outpost Qatar

Focal point: Wendy van Eekeren
Office hours: Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays 8:30am-12.30pm
Languages: English, French, Dutch, Ordu, Yoruba
Contact >>

Quicklinks