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13 February 2019 03:50 pm

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

Sonkie
Sonkie
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Getting around Qatar is still possible even if you don’t have a car. Because just like anywhere else in the world, there is public transportation that you can freely use including taxis, buses, and an upcoming train system to help you reach your destination.

In this article, we'll be flashing the green light to taxis—the most preferred mode of public transportation in Qatar as they're deemed to be safe, private, and quick!

These beasts are everywhere in Doha, meaning you can easily hail one along the street. However, during rush hours or if you're outside of the capital, you might find it difficult to get one. But there is now an option for passengers to do ‘pick-up,’ wherein there’ll be a 5-10 minute waiting interval before your lift arrives.

There are various taxi companies in Qatar, and you'll be going through them one-by-one as you scroll down.

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

Official statistics point out that Qatar is witnessing growth in all sectors, thereby attracting many visitors from different countries, and that’s where the opportunity for easy and fast public transport services lies. This demand is expected to expand even further especially with the clock ticking fast for the most-awaited 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Among the most well-known taxi companies in the country are Mowasalat (Karwa), Careem, and Uber. While the first one has both the traditional and pick-up options, the last two need to be booked ahead of time through a mobile app.

Besides these three, we also have a newly-launched taxi app that is "proudly made in Qatar" which we'll be introducing in a few while.

We'll be comparing these four taxi companies through a handful of qualities which a passenger should always put first when exploring the city that they're in. Apart from efficiency, punctuality, and all-around exemplary service, these six should be included in the brief selection of the features that you should look for in a quality cab service:

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

Reliability

The last thing you want is even a hint of anxiety about pick-up time or whether or not you'll make it to your destination on schedule. It's of utmost importance that your taxi company will get you where you need to BE ON TIME, every time.

Ease of access

Are there enough taxis of its kind in the city that you're in? If you're booking through a mobile app, how long does it take to book a lift? Are the app controls easy to use or do you always end up getting annoyed with all the many steps that you need to finish in order to get the booking done?

Safety

You may have been in a cab that made you feel a little nervous before. Safety should always be a priority, and that includes previous records, driving habits, and the quality of the vehicle itself.

Comfort and cleanliness

A vehicle that is clean and comfortable will make for a better experience. Look for a taxi company with a reputation for taking care of their cabs.

Courteous drivers

Your driver is one of the most crucial factors in the quality of a cab ride. They should be professional, courteous, and familiar enough with the city to make up for any potential traffic delays that pop up along the way.

Reasonable fares

There's nothing worse than riding somewhere without knowing how much you'll have to pay at the end of the trip. Find a company that not only offers affordable fares but also makes all fees transparent.

Note: We based our assessment of each category from the user reviews on Google Play and App Store.

Let's kick off the list with Doha's bright blue-coloured cabs!

1. Karwa

Tagline: "Keeping you on the move"

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

In 2002, the Qatari government launched Mowasalat, a company 100% owned by the government. Besides running the bus network, it also oversees the taxi service in the country, under the Karwa banner.

Reliability

These turquoise blue cars are not going to be government-owned for nothing! Our experience while hailing a Karwa on the road and through the app is mostly pleasing and as long as traffic's not concerned, then you'll never miss your appointment for sure!

Ease of access

As they're considered to be Qatar's national land carrier, Karwa taxis are widely-available throughout the country. And although some location issues in the app are being pinpointed by many users as well as occasional overbooking dialogues, running out of blue sedans especially if you're inside Doha is the last thing that could happen!

Safety

Every car is equipped with the driver's details, a GPS tracker, and you can always jot down the car's plate number just in case it's your first time to go around town by your own.

Comfort and cleanliness

The Karwa taxis are considered as the most comfortable taxis in Doha as their fleet of cars are new, clean, safe, and spacious (depending on the Karwa roof's colour). The sedan cars (the normal ones), can take on board up to four passengers.

You can even choose the type of vehicle that you'd like to use. Whether it's a Standard, Business, or Luxury, it's all up to you!

For your all-in-one guide to the five different colours of the Karwa Taxi, click HERE!

Courteous drivers

This criteria is the most subjective of all six. But in our opinion, Karwa's drivers, who hail mainly from the South Asian and West African regions, are skilled, polite, and at times conversational. You'll be surprised how most of them can speak English like a pro!

Reasonable fares

Karwa's meter starts at QR4 and runs at QR1.20 per km during the day and QR1.80 in nighttime. The fares are not constant and are likely to change from time to time.

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

Additional services

Karwa's new application interface was introduced along with a new icon and it comes with the following features:

  • Showing a fare breakdown (estimated fare) & Nil Surge charges
  • You may also set our work and home location
  • You will be notified when any vehicles arrive
  • E-mail will be sent for all bookings
  • Selecting the vehicle type will show much time it will take to reach your location
  • Round the clock contact center support for booking and support for taxi and limousine service at 800- TAXI (8294) & 800-Limo (5466)
  • Tamper-proof meters
  • More payment options will be available soon!

Note: if the meter isn’t operational, your trip will be FREE!

To know the key reasons why taxi users in Qatar should keep using Karwa, click HERE!

About Mowasalat

Website: http://www.mowasalat.com
App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/ap...
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Mowas...
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Mowasalat_...
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mowa...
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/M...

2. Uber

Tagline: "Get There"

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

Uber is not only a peer-to-peer ride sharing taxi app. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, it also does food delivery and bicycle-sharing services. The app's popularity has grown in the Middle East due to its utmost reliability, convenience, and user-friendliness.

Reliability

Uber taxis are reliable rides that can be requested through their app. And if being on time is what you're concerned with the most, then the app has a feature wherein customers will have the privilege to see how long the trip is going to take.

Ease of access

Uber's legacy is clearly visible in how their app works. Your next ride is just a few clicks away! And did we mention that after Karwas, Uber cars are the next most abundant fleet of taxi in the country? You can locate a driver even though you're in the middle of nowhere!

Safety

It's safe because passengers and drivers have their own profiles and the moment you book a ride, the car's number will be shown clearly as well as your captain's personal contact details.

Comfort and cleanliness

It all depends on the car and the driver that will be assigned to you. But from our experience so far, Uber sees to it that their vehicles are comfy, tidy, and ready to sleep on—just don't forget to tilt your seat backwards!

Courteous drivers

Once drivers arrive, most of them are friendly and communicative. And did you know that you can read (while waiting) basic information about your driver including the number of trips that he has made, his origin, and the languages that he speaks? Now that's something!

Reasonable fares

Your total fare will all depend on your distance, the peak hour, and the traffic that's waiting on the way. If you're out of cash, then you have the option to pay cashless. You can literally do things as you wish!

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

What to watch out for!

30% Uber code discounts that the system gives away every other Sundays! Consider yourself lucky if you receive promo codes in two consecutive Sundays!

About Uber Qatar

Website: https://www.uber.com/en-QA/cit...
App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/ap...
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uberq...
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/uber...
Twitter: https://twitter.com/uber_qatar...

3. Careem

Tagline: "Every ride counts"

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

A transportation network company based in Dubai, Careem operates in over 120 cities in 15 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Careem taxis are chaffeur-driven private cars. You can request a ride by logging in to Careem’s mobile app where you can specify for immediate or late scheduled rides.

Reliability

Careem lifts usually take 2-3 minutes to come and pick passengers up. They offer several car options to cover their customer’s needs and preferences from Go, Go+, Max, and so on.

Ease of access

The app itself somehow isn't as slick as Uber's, according to users. "It looks a bit economy to Uber's first class." But the Careem app fills in the lacking qualities by having useful features such as the digital wallet which you can top-up by paying cash on top of your fare, or use the aforementioned feature just like a credit card!

Safety

Careem’s system is designed to give its customers the satisfaction of being in good hands. Once the wheels roll, your whereabout will for sure be very well-tracked. Also, you have the option to share with your family and friends the details of your trip, the Captain, and even your LIVE location!

Comfort and cleanliness

Just because Careem is a younger company and it's made specifically for the Middle Eastern audience, we can say that their cars are shinier, more comfortable, and smell more traditional.

Courteous drivers

Careem calls their drivers 'Captains'. And according to passengers, most Careem captains were "more polite and respectful" than drivers from other taxi provider companies. Their customer’s overall satisfaction rate is at a staggering 97%.

Reasonable fares

Careem’s prices are 3% lower than Uber. They also tend to give FREE rides to loyal passengers every now and then. The free cancellation period for Careems after you book with them is two minutes different from Uber. However, Captains can cancel the ride after ten minutes from arriving at your location while Uber sets it at five minutes.

Careem also has packages, designed to help commuters save up to 15% on their daily travel, offering great value for money.

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

Pro tip

Be sure to check the app's notification tab every now and then to keep yourself updated on the latest promotions guaranteed to make you book more rides with Careem!

About Careem Qatar

Website: https://www.careem.com/en-ae/c...
App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/c...
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caree...
Twitter: https://twitter.com/careemqat?...
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/care...

4. Qatar Taxi

Tagline: "Made in Qatar, for people in Qatar"

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

Launched earlier this year, Qatar Taxi, which is the first Qatari application of its kind for booking cabs at an affordable price, is deemed by its founders as safe, reliable and capable to ensure the security, privacy of users and their data in a better way compared to any other applications as it is Qatar-based.

Reliability

As it is the youngest out of the four, there are unfortunately not enough Q Taxis in D-Town. Users complain about how they had to wait for several minutes (sometimes for an hour) for a cab to come and pick them up.

Ease of access

Another issue with this newly-launched app is the app itself. People are saying that it's slow, not really user-friendly, and it's also a common story to hear how drivers cancel trips even though they've already accepted to drop passengers off.

Safety

The biggest challenge lies in maintaining the confidentiality and security of the information of public transport users, according to Q Taxi's CEO. "That’s why we have partnered with one of the world’s leading companies in this field, which will be based in Doha, to ensure the security, privacy, and secrecy of our users and their data."

Comfort and cleanliness

We've tried going around town with them once and we must say that out of all the three other taxi companies listed above, Q Taxis are our most memorable ride—comfy wise!

Courteous drivers

Q Taxi drivers are not only courteous, but they're also cool, witty, and can carry on interesting topics amidst the long traffic caused by rush hour.

Reasonable fares

Most app users are saying that compared to Uber and Careem, Q Taxi's fares are slightly on the pricier side but from our experience, we honestly think that these three taxi hailing companies are priced evenly. We believe that the changes in price merely depends on the demand in the flow of passengers—as predicted by the time of day when you book your ride.

Battle of the taxis: Qatar Edition

About Qatar Taxi

Website: http://qatartaxiapp.com
App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/ap...
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/qatar...
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/qata...

When it comes to tipping, please be well-guided that such deed is optional in Qatar (5 QR minimum).

Which of the above-mentioned taxi companies do you usually use to get moving? Also, did our inputs give you an overview of what to expect when using public transportation in Qatar? Drop us a line in the comments and don't forget as well to like and share this article—it keeps us going!