Taxi! Your Guide to Getting Around an Arab City

Taxi! Your Guide to Getting Around an Arab City

One of the great things about traveling to Arabic speaking countries is that most major cities have quite a few different methods of transportation methods to choose from. Though not as غير مكلف – ghyr mukalaf (inexpensive) as buses, سيارات الأجرة – sayarat al’ujra (taxis) offer a still relatively cheap and quick way to get from one point to another. Making it easier still is the emergence of ride hailing apps, where the sayarat al’ujra offer الباب الى الباب albab ila albab (door-to-door) service at a reasonable cost. With this in mind, look at the conversation below for some Arabic phrases and vocabulary you can use to hail a sayarat ‘ajruh in the Arab world:

Ronnie hails a taxi in downtown Marrakech.

Driver: أين تريد أن تذهب؟ – ‘ayn turiid ‘an tadhhab?
Where do you want to go?

Ronnie: الي الفندق – ‘ilaa al-funduq
To the hotel

Driver: ما اسم الفندق؟ – maa ‘ism al-funduq?
What’s the name of the hotel?

Ronnie: فندق بوم بوم جاردن – funduq bawm bawm jaridn
The Boom Boom Garden Hotel

Driver: تفضل – tafaDDal
Okay. Come in.

Thanks a lot! The taxi arrives at the hotel.
Driver: وصلنا إلى الفندق – waSalnaa ‘ilaa al-funduq
We’ve arrived at the hotel

Ronnie: بكم؟ – bikam?
How much?

Driver: عشرون درهم – ‘ishriin daraahim
Twenty dirhams

Ronnie: احتفظ بالباقي – aihtafaz bialbaqi
Keep the change

Driver: شكرا جزيلا – shukran jaziilan!
Thanks a lot!

When hailing a sayarat ‘ajruh in an Arab country, remember the following advice:

  • Make sure that the sayarat ‘ajruh is legit. This means check to see if it’s مرخص بالكامل ومصرح به murakhas balkaml wamusrah bih (fully licensed and authorized) by local agencies. Many companies operate illegal sayarat al’ujra and take advantage of unsuspecting tourists — don’t be one of them! Most legit sayarat ‘ajruh operators normally have licensing information on display somewhere inside the taxi  or sometimes even on the cab’s exterior.
  • Check for a flat rate from the airport. Most sayarat al’ujra that run to and from the airport charge a flat rate. Ask about the flat rate before you get into the sayarat ‘ajruh.
  • Always make sure the taxi driver uses the meter. If you’re in the city, make sure the سائق سيارة أجرة – sayiq sayarat ‘ujra (taxi driver) turns on the عداد – a’dadd(meter). Many times the driver will conveniently forget to turn on the meter and try to milk you for more money, so always rely on the meter. If he tells you it’s broken, get another taxi!

    In most Arab countries, tipping the سائق – saa’iq driver is not necessary, but if the taxi driver is polite and honest with you, there’s nothing wrong with leaving him a little tip!

So there you have it, and if you’ve been following us for quite some time, you’ve reached another milestone in your quest to learn Arabic.
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“I want to learn Arabic,” then you’ve come to the right place at
Until next time, رحلات سعيدة! – rihlat saeiadat! (Happy travels!)