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Transportation in Doha. Since the early 2000s, Doha, the capital of Qatar has been undergoing an extensive expansion in its transportation network including the addition of new highways, the construction of a new airport, and the under-construction Doha metro. These projects are meant to keep up with the population’s rapid growth, which has strained the country’s current infrastructure.
Roads in Qatar
Doha has a comprehensive road network made up primarily of two and three-lane dual carriageways (divided highways). As a result of Doha being a relatively young city circling a central area, a majority of main streets are inordinately wide highway-like motorways that usually include service roads and large medians. While traditionally roundabouts have been used as intersections in the city, they are being rapidly phased out for signalized intersections as they are proving ineffective at regulating the increased traffic flow in turn overloading the city’s road network. Most major roundabouts have been either converted to intersections or interchanges.
Highways in Qatar
There are five main highways connecting Doha to its neighboring cities. These are the Dukhan Highway to the west of the city, the Al-Shamal Road, connecting Doha to the north of the country, the Al Khor Coastal Road, connecting Doha to the northern town of Al Khor, and the Al Wakrah/Mesaieed Road, connecting Doha to the south of the country. Finally, Salwa Road runs through south Doha and connects the city to the Saudi border to the south of the country.
Total: 1,230 km
Paved: 1,107 km
Unpaved: 123 km (1996 est.)
Most of the main roads in this tiny country have been updated to multilane, double carriageway motorways, including the following:
Al Shamal Highway: Doha – Ar Ru’ays. Length: 109 km.
Doha Highway: Doha – Mesaieed. Length: 57 km.
Garafat Ar Rayyan Highway: Doha – Dukhan. Length: 82 km.
Al Khor Highway: Doha – Al Khor. Length: 45 km.
Salwa Highway (constructed in 1970): Doha – As Salwa. Length: 100 km.
Umm Bab Highway: Dukhan – Salwa Highway. length: 61 km.
Al Majd Road (constructed in 2017 as the “Orbital Highway”) is the longest highway in Qatar, running at a length of 195 km from south-to-north. It begins in Mesaieed and extends north towards Ras Laffan on the coast.
These highways are all currently undergoing expansion, and are being expanded within Doha itself.
The Al Shamal-Road has traditionally connected to the D‑Ring Road in Doha, a three-lane dual carriageway that connects the city on a north-south axis. However, as a result of congestion, the D‑Ring Road is being converted into a major highway through the city, and its name has been changed to the Doha Expressway, connecting Doha as a whole and connecting Doha with the north of Qatar. Several phases of the expressway have been completed, including the Al Shamal Bridge, the Landmark Interchange, the Gharaffa Interchange, and the Midmac/Salwa Road Interchange.
The Al Shamal Road is also undergoing significant expansion as part of the Doha Expressway project. The road is being expanded into a four-lane highway (a total of eight lanes) with major interchanges which will better serve the country than the existing two-lane dual carriageway. Furthermore, the new Doha Expressway will connect Doha with the planned Qatar-Bahrain Friendship Bridge at al‑Zubara, connecting the two Persian Gulf states in a similar manner Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are currently connected.
Al Khor Coastal Road
Commutes between Doha and the municipality of Al Khor are currently facilitated Al Khor Coastal Road, which runs through Al Daayen.
The Lusail expressway is expected to connect the new city of Lusail, currently being constructed north of Doha, to central Doha, along with connecting the Pearl island to the mainland. The expressway is expected to take the path along the former Istiqlal Road, now Lusail Street, and will be a 4‑lane dual carriageway passing through the city. The expressway will extend from Lusail City, through Rainbow roundabout, the Qatar Sports Club roundabout, and the fire department roundabout.
Doha is linked to the country’s western settlements, namely Dukhan, through Dukhan Highway. The Public Works Authority carried out the Dukhan Highway Central Project in 2017 to enhance the road network.
The Salwa Highway project’s first phase has been completed. This phase involved the expansion of the highway, which connects Doha to the southwestern town of Salwa on the Saudi Arabian border, into a four-lane highway with grade separated interchanges. The rest of Salwa Road is expected to be expanded and upgraded, from the recently completed Industrial Area Interchange to the Jaidah flyover, including the construction of an underpass at the Ramada signals, Doha’s busiest traffic light intersection. This project is not expected to commence until after the completion of the Doha Expressway.
The F‑Ring Road will be the sixth ring road in Doha, and is being constructed as part of the transportation network leading to the New Doha International Airport. The new highway will connect the airport to the corniche at the new Ras Abu Aboud interchange, currently under construction, and will involve a new ring road south of the E‑Ring Road.
Public transport in Qatar
In 2002, the Qatari government launched Mowasalat, a company 100% owned by the government, managed and operated by the state authorities to ensure the smooth provision of “integrated ground transport services” for the entire country. Previously, 3,000 privately owned orange taxicabs used to rule the streets of Qatar but the government took them off the roads as they saw them as a threat to the new Mowasalat taxis. There has been much controversy over this move, as it is now very hard to find a taxi in Doha.
Public buses now service over 35 routes covering most locations of Doha with minimal fares making public transport in Qatar an inexpensive solution to the problems of rush hours and parking difficulties.
Mowasalat, under the brand-name ‘Karwa’, now operates more than 3,000 new taxi sedans including the recently acquired airport taxis with spacious cabins using the 2007 Ford Freestars, and more than 120 public buses, school buses and private-hire coaches. In 2009, the Mowasalat created a world record for the largest parade of buses numbering 300 in all. In addition, its Doha Limousine Service has 100 standard limousines and 200 Jaguar XJ VIP units that are mostly placed at the Doha International Airport and at major hotels.
However, those without personal transportation still face difficulties to move around since the number of taxis is much lower than the actual need of the population. All buses operate only on specific assigned lines based at the Central Bus Stations at Al-Ghanem area of the old city.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications stated that Public bus ridership has increased by 40% between 2015 and 2018
Taxis in Qatar
The state-owned Mowasalat company was founded in 2004 to run the country’s public transportation. It operates all taxis in Qatar under the “Karwa” brand, with thousands of taxis in the capital. Taxi stands are usually found near malls and shopping centers. In the past difficulties arose in finding Karwa taxis due to the small number of taxis available at launch, which gradually replaced all privately owned taxis.
Fares start at 10 riyals and the majority of taxis are sedans such as the Toyota Camry and Škoda Octavias. Most airport taxis at the Doha International Airport are Ford Freestars.
Your all-in-one guide to the different colors of the Karwa taxis!
‘Karwa’ taxis are government-owned vehicles considered the most convenient and safe form of public transportation in all of Qatar. Mowasalat — Qatar’s major transport services provider and the company behind Karwa — says that their vehicles are comfortable luxury sedans, servicing people in Qatar since 2004.
Today, the Mowasalat fleet includes taxis, limousines, and public and private buses for events and contracts.
The most common among Mowasalat’s line-up of beasts is, of course, their Karwa taxis. And if you think that they’re all the same just because the taxis are sprinkled in the same hue of blue, then you might want to check their roof the next time you ride or book one.
Below is a round-up of the five colours of the Karwa taxis. They might not have lots of differences from one another besides the roof colour, but we made it to a point to provide you with all the exclusive facts and statistics (as provided by Mowasalat itself):
1. Mowasalat Taxis (Silver Roof)
Not only are the silver-roofed Mowasalat taxis the pioneering transport providers among the other four having served Qatar for a whopping 14 years in operation, but it is also the most versatile as it offers street pick-up, contact center booking, airport service, as well as lifts for the handicapped. They are also the only state-owned taxis on the list with vehicle types such as Toyota Camry, Toyota Previa, and Volkswagen-Jetta.
Note: The next four are franchise taxi operators which Mowasalat accumulated. They operate with the same regulated branding and quality service standard as Mowasalat-Karwa Taxis. But unlike the silver-roofed ones, they’re not as versatile as the only transport services that they offer are street pick-up and booking through the contact center – 800 TAXI (8294).
2. Maroon Roof
With a total of 6 years in operation, the maroon-roofed Al Million Taxis is one of Mowasalat’s very first taxi franchise -and the most stylish as well. The company’s 500 taxis around Qatar are either a Toyota Camry or a Toyota Fortuner.
3. Blue Roof
Boasting a total of approximately 1,000 vehicles picking up passengers around Qatar for 6 years already, the blue-roofed Al-Ijarah Taxis is one of the most dominant — and sometimes, the easiest to spot — among its fellows. They have a variety of vehicle types ranging from Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, to Toyota Camry.
4. Yellow Roof
Just like blue, yellows are also a thing in several areas around Qatar with Profit Trading and Contracting Taxis — which has been under Mowasalat for 4 years now. Toyota Camry, Toyota Innova are some of the vehicle types that the operator carries.
5. Charcoal Roof
It’s not black, it’s not grey-it’s charcoal! Dubbed as Mowasalat’s latest franchise, the charcoal-roofed Capital Taxi is barely 4 years in operation. Don’t mistake it for a grey roof though, this version of the Karwa Taxis is the most well-maintained considering its relatively raw age. They’re usually composed of Skoda and Superb vehicle types.
Mowasalat also mentioned that when it comes to their drivers’ statistics, South Asians and Africans make up most of the population. And from 4,200 taxis in 2016, they’re eyeing to reach a record number of 7,000 by the year 2020.
To book a taxi, call 800-TAXI (8294). For lost & found, complaints & feedback please call 800-TAXI or drop an email to email@example.com. You can also download the Karwa app here for IOS and Android.
Street 37, Industrial Area,
Doha, State of Qatar
Phone: +974 445 88 588
Fax: +974 4458 8980
Karwa Taxi App
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Karwa Bus App
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Public bus network
An extensive bus system solely operated by the state-owned Mowasalat commenced in October 2004. It runs in the city of Doha and most of the major towns with one route that terminates as far as the Saudi border. The system covers many areas of the capital city with varied bus stop configurations ranging from open stops to semi-covered and enclosed. The system is mainly used by lower-income segments as the network connectivity is not always feasible and most buses route to the main bus stop – which in itself is a semi-covered non-air conditioned space. This clubbed with the fact that most people prefer to use their private vehicles has not led to a major shift of the city’s population to public networks. However, the Doha metro is expected to change that.
The main bus terminal is located in the Souqs area of downtown Doha with services operating to all major towns in Qatar. Mowasalat operates a total of 50 routes starting as early as 4am with last buses timed to depart around 11pm. It also offers three routes that cover major stops terminating at the new Hamad International airport in Doha. The fleet also has buses that run on natural gas, having launched the region’s first CNG-fuelled buses. Mowasalat also provides transportation for public schools with a fleet of over 1800 buses. The company states that it plans to expand nationwide through six major bus stations, 16 depots and 1000 buses by 2020.
Shuttle network (West bay)
Qatar’s Ministry of Transport launched this shuttle service for the West Bay district to help ease congestion in this business district. It has been operated by state-owned transport company, Mowasalat. It provides a transport choice for tourists and residents alike and was expanded in 2016 to cover more areas in the district. The single route network operates from 6 am to 9 pm with a frequency of 15 minutes. Initially launched as a free service with two lines, both the blue line and the red line have been combined into a single route pay and use facility. The route was introduced with the objective to ease the parking challenges in the congested district which houses Ministries, government organizations, corporate towers, hotels, embassies & sports clubs.
Doha Bus is a private operated hop on hop off service established in the spring of 2013. The network has a fleet of double-decker buses and has been designed to provide a flexible approach to discovery the capital. The major interest points covered on these routes include;
The Qatar Integrated Railway Project covers four metro lines in Doha, tram routes in West Bay and Lusail, a high-speed line, and dedicated freight railways.
In August 2008 Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment created a joint venture with Deutsche Bahn of Germany, Qatar Railway Development Company to plan a railway network in Qatar. On 22 November 2009 Deutsche Bahn and Qatari signed a memorandum of Agreement to build high-speed railway lines and underground transport networks in Qatar and Bahrain. This agreement has never been executed. The Qatar Railways Development Company (QRDC) was created in 2011, and, soon after this, it has been decided that Qatar Rail will be the sole owner and manager of Qatar’s rail network and will be responsible for the design, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance of the entire rail network and systems. However,
Qatar Rail consist of:
Doha Metro (Contract awarded for civil works, Rolling Stocks and Systems).
Light rail transit for Lusail (the other LRT systems in Doha, namely for Education City and Hamad International Airport are managed outside Qatar Rail.
The total length of the Qatar Rail network consist of approximately:
750 km of track
100 stations for both passenger and freight
In June 2013, Qatar Rail awarded four design and build contracts worth approximately $8.2 billion for phase one of the Doha metro. The project will include four rail lines and an underground section in the center of the capital Doha and will link stadiums for the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament. The contracts were for the Red Line North project, the Red Line South project, the Green Line project and another one to design and build the metro’s major stations. The projects are expected to employ more than 20,000 workers at its peak, construction is scheduled to begin later this year for completion by 2019. Construction of the metro was originally planned to start in the first quarter of 2010.
Doha Metro’s Red Line became the first line officially opened to the public on 8 May 2019. This was followed by the launch of the Gold Line on 21 November 2019, and the opening of the Green Line on 10 December 2019.
Red Line has opened on the 8th of May 2019 for commuters to travel in, from al Qassar station to al Wakra (13 stations). Other lines and stations are yet to be completed.
A four-line, 300-kilometer (190 mi) metro is under construction. Construction work on the Msheireb station—planned as the hub between—October 10, 2012, to mark the start of work on the key terminal station at Msheireb, which will form the hub of the Doha metro network. The system will include commuter lines, four light rail lines, and a people mover. In August Qatar Rail signed five contracts totaling 1.48 billion riyals for work on the first phase of the metro, which covers 129 route-kilometers including the Red, Green, and Gold lines. The contracts were awarded to Porr/Saudi Binladin/HBK Contracting (enabling works), Jacobs Engineering (Red Line), Louis Berger/Egis Group (Gold Line and main stations), Hill International (Green Line), and Lloyd’s Register (safety assessment). According to the CEO of Qatar Rail, Phase 1 is due to open in the fourth quarter of 2019, well ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Overall, Doha Metro will consist of four lines: in addition to the aforementioned Red Line, Gold Line, and Green Line which will be built in the first phase, the Blue Line is expected to be completed in the second phase. Msheireb Station will be the point of intersection for all of the metro lines.
The Red Line (also known as Coast Line) will extend through Doha, running from Al Wakrah to Al Khor. It is separated into two divisions: Red Line North and Red Line South. The former will run from Mushayrib Station to Al Khor City, over a length of 55.7 km. Doha Metro’s Green Line will connect Doha to Education City and is also known as the Education Line. Starting in Old Airport, the Gold Line (also known as Historic Line) will end in Al Rayyan and cover a distance of 30.6 km. Lastly, the Blue Line, or City Line, will only cover the city of Doha, and is planned to be circular with a length of 17.5 km.
The city of Lusail, which is located approximately 15 km (9.3 mi) north of Doha’s city center, is getting a light rail transit system comprising 25 stations over 19 km (12 mi). It will connect to the Doha metro. The opening of the Lusail LRT is expected for 2020.
The Gulf Railway is a proposed railway project that would connect the six Arab member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates—of the Persian Gulf. The regional network would be 1,940 kilometers (1,210 mi) long. It is planned to be operational by 2017. A monorail system is expected to be the first to open, and will carry passengers between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. According to initial planning documents, the metro lines will be mostly underground, which could be a challenge for engineers due to the high water table
Aviation in Qatar
Doha International Airport was Qatar’s International airport until 2014. It was the hub of Qatar Airways, and was also served by many other International airlines. Because of the rapid growth in Qatar and the rapid growth of Qatar Airways, the airport was deemed too small and inadequate for the traffic that went through. This problem was addressed with a large expansion that was made in anticipation of the 15th Asian Games. The airport’s facilities were expanded significantly, including the construction of a separate first and business class terminal. Furthermore, parking bays had been constructed on the opposite side of the runway to handle additional air traffic. All these changes had temporarily eased the problem but because of the airport’s small size and limited space for expansion, it was not effective to permanently solve the crowding problem.
Hamad International Airport constructed about 4 km East of the former airport replaced it as the only International airport in Qatar This airport has been partially built out at sea on 60% reclaimed land. Next to the airport 100 hectares have been set aside for an Airport City. Commenced in 2006, the initial phases of the airport are completed and the third phase is ongoing. It received its first passengers in 2014 and when completed it will be able to accommodate around 50 million passengers annually. The new airport is located on the shore, further away from the central areas of the city than the current airport, reducing noise and environmental pollution. 2 parallel runways are operational, the western one being the eighth longest in the world at 4850 meters. The airport’s 600,000 sq m passenger terminal has a check-in hall that comprises a 25,000 sq m column-free space with around 130 check-in counters. One of the largest maintenance hangars worldwide is located at the airport said to be able to cater to 13 aircraft at once. This airport is also one of the first ever designed specifically for the double-deck Airbus A380. Hamad International Airport is the only international passenger airport in Qatar. There are five other airfields in the country, three paved, two unpaved.
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