Standing in the Arrivals Hall at Hamad International Airport (HIA), you will be keen to get to your final destination in Doha or the surrounding areas. Whether you are heading to friends, your hotel, or one of the World Cup Football Stadiums, rest assured that onward travel from the airport will be fast and efficient.
There are a wide variety of transport options available to travellers arriving in Qatar. Taxis, buses and Metro trains are all plentiful and relatively cheap. There are a host of car-rental companies offering independent travel options. And, for those who fancy a little bit of luxury, you can hire a chauffeur-driven limousine.
Taxis, buses and limousines (operated by Mowasalat), and the Metro, are all state-owned companies. So, you are guaranteed fair prices, good service and vehicles that conform to high-quality performance and safety standards.
Transport companies at the airport operate for 7 days per week, and the majority of companies offer their services for 24 hours per day. All services are within easy reach of the Arrivals Hall and well signposted. You can ask for directions and assistance at the Information desk within the Arrivals Hall, if necessary.
Are We Nearly There Yet?
Whether you are a weary traveller, excited to discover Doha, or travelling with kids who incessantly ask, ‘Are we nearly there yet?’; the answer is ‘Yes’.
Qatar is a reasonably small country, and distances between locations are quite short. Travel times, from the airport into the city and beyond, are relatively quick. The majority of the hotels are located in the centre of Doha, in West Bay and at the Pearl. It takes approximately 20 minutes to reach the centre of Doha by car from the airport. To reach West Bay, it takes 25 minutes, and to reach the Pearl, it takes 35 minutes. The nearest 2022 World Cup Football stadium, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, takes only 12 minutes to reach from the airport. The furthest, Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, only takes an hour to reach. Some of the outlying destinations in Qatar can be reached in a reasonably short time too. Mesaieed Industrial City in the south can be reached in approximately 35 minutes. Al Khor to the north is an hour away; and, Dukhan to the west takes around an hour and 20 minutes to reach.
Leaving the Airport
If you are being picked up from the airport by friends, relatives or a company representative, you will find them waiting in the Arrivals Hall (unless otherwise directed). As you walk through Customs into the Arrivals Hall, there is a large waiting area where the majority of people congregate to wait for arriving passengers.
If you are making your way to your final destination under your own steam, you have plenty of options to choose from:
Leaving any airport to find a taxi, especially for the first time, can be an intimidating experience, particularly if the taxi drivers are touting for business. At Hamad International Airport, the experience is quite different. Only Karwa Taxis, operated by the state-owned Mowasalat, are available from the Arrivals Hall Taxi Pavillion*. Passengers arrive at the Pavillion and are greeted by taxi co-ordinators, shown to a clean and well-maintained taxi, and helped with their baggage. It’s a very relaxing and efficient affair.
Kawa Taxis operate 24 hours a day; 7 days a week. Taxis are metered and rates are pre-set - QAR 1.20 per km2 during the hours of 5 am-9 pm and QAR 1.80 per km2 during the hours of 9 pm-5 am. So, you don’t need to worry about being ripped off!
The Taxi Pavillion is a short walk across the left hand side of the Arrivals Hall and is well signposted. There are washrooms and an ATM located in the Taxi Pavillion - drivers only accept cash.
Depending on the size of your party and how much luggage you have, you will be assigned either a sedan, a people carrier or van. If you require a taxi adapted for reduced mobility, you can call ahead and arrange a suitable car for your arrival (ring Mowasalat on +974 4458 8888 for more information).
For an easy and affordable way to complete your journey, you can’t go wrong jumping into a taxi at HIA.
For a little slice of luxury and to ensure you arrive at your final destination in comfort and style, why not hire a limousine?
Limousines and luxury chauffeur-driven cars can be booked online through a variety of companies in Qatar and pick-up locations arranged in advance. Some car rental companies also offer chauffeur service.
Mowasalat is the only (state-owned) company to operate a permanent rental service out of the airport. They manage a customer counter in the Arrivals Hall, and all hired limousines can be found on arrival parked at Exit Gates 2 and 3. To book or contact Mowasalat visit their website (www.mowasalat.com) or call +974 4458 8888.
Before you book, check whether the limousine company offer flexible pick-up. Some companies offer a 1 hour wait time to allow for late flights and delays.
If you are planning a holiday or a business trip and would like the freedom to travel whenever and wherever you want, hiring a car from the airport is quick and easy. There are a host of car-rental companies operating out of the airport, and their kiosks are all located a short walk from the Arrivals Hall exit.
Global and local rental companies affiliated with the airport offer a range of car brands and models for hire. Depending on the size of your party and the type of car you prefer to drive, you can opt for compact economy models, medium-sized sedans, SUVs, sports and luxury models, and even vans and buses. Various packages are available for short term and long term hire, insurance and breakdown cover, and there are plenty of extras on offer from car seats to GPS equipment.
To hire a car, you can either pre-book online or register as a walk-in customer on arrival. All car hire companies will require specific documentation, so don’t forget to bring:
- Your International Driving License (or a license issued by one of the GCC countries);
- A credit card with at least 3 months validity left on it;
- Your passport with your entry stamp into Qatar displayed in it;
- Your booking reference (if you booked online).
Most car hire companies in Qatar require that drivers are over 21 years of age to hire a car. Some companies require drivers to be over 25 years of age and add a surcharge for younger customers (21-24 years of age).
Picking up your car is simple. The car rental kiosks are located on the Ground Floor of the building directly opposite the main exit from the Arrivals Hall. Once the relevant paperwork and payments have been processed at the car rental kiosk, you can pick up your car in the adjacent car park. The majority of companies provide a full tank of fuel, so are ready to drive away when you are. The only thing you need to remember is to drive on the left-hand side of the road!
Dropping off your rental car is equally as easy. You return the car with a full tank of fuel, to the short-term car park. Drop off the keys and complete the relevant paperwork, then take the lift up to Level 1 and walk across to the covered walkway to the terminal building and Departures.
For a list of rental car companies operating at HIA, flick through this Car Rental Operators list.
Mowasalat - a state-owned company - operates public service buses across Doha and the surrounding areas. Buses provide a cheaper option for getting around, and it’s a great way to see the city.
There are plenty of routes served from the airport. The Hamad International Airport and the Mowasalat websites provide a list of bus routes, maps and service details.
Tickets to city centre destinations and the surrounding areas cost under QAR 5. For destinations that are a marked distance from the airport, such as Al Khor and The Pearl in the north, and Mesaieed in the south, tickets cost under QAR 10.
Buses are generally very frequent with most services running every 20-30 minutes. The bus to Al Khor runs every hour. Services generally begin operating at 4 am and continue until between 10 pm and midnight. One service, serving The Old Airport, Al Hilal and Najma areas, operates a 24-hour service.
To catch a bus, passengers need to head to the Bus Pavillion in the Arrivals Hall. The Bus Pavillion is a short walk across the right-hand side of the Arrivals Hall and is well signposted.
To use the public buses, you must have a Karwa Smart Card as cash is not accepted. Smart Cards are easy to purchase at the airport - card vending machines are available in the Bus Pavillion, and ATMs are available throughout Arrivals. You can purchase three different types of Smart Card depending on your needs:
- Classic - This QAR 30 card is rechargeable and can be used for multiple journeys across Qatar.
- Limited - This QAR 10 card is for single-use for two inner-city trips within 24 hours of purchase. Cards can be topped up at a variety of locations.
- Unlimited - This QAR 20 card is for single-use, but can be used for unlimited trips throughout Qatar within 24 hours.
So, for an inexpensive introduction to Qatar, grab a Smart Card and hop on a bus.
Hamad International Airport is served by the Red Line of Qatar’s new Metro system. The Red Line runs for 40km from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail City in the north. Two additional lines, Green and Gold, connect to the Red Line at an interchange station in Doha’s downtown area, Msheireb. The Gold Line runs for 14km from Ras Abu Aboud in the east to Al Aziziyah in the west. The Green Line runs for 22km from Al Mansoura in the centre of Doha to Al Riffa, north-west of the city.
Travellers embarking at HIA are able to reach numerous destinations in the city and beyond quickly, efficiently and affordably. Indeed, trains arrive every 6 minutes; the journey between stations is generally only 3 minutes long; and, the minimum cost per journey is currently set at QAR 2 (as of 2020).
The Metro trains currently (as of 2020) run for seven days per week - Saturday to Thursday, 6 am to 11 pm, and Friday, 2 pm to 11pm.
To travel by Metro, you will need to purchase a Travel Card. There are three different types of travel cards to choose from:
- Standard - This QAR 10 card is rechargeable, can be used for travel in Standard and Family cabins, and is valid for 5 years. Cards must be topped up with travel credit before use. A single journey costs QAR 2, while a day pass costs QAR 6.
- Gold - This QAR 100 card is rechargeable, can be used for travel in Gold Club cabins, and is valid for 5 years. Cards must be topped up with travel credit before use. A single journey costs QAR 10, while a day pass costs QAR 30.
- Limited Use - This single-use card is recommended for occasional travellers and tourists. For Standard and Family cabin travel, a single journey costs QAR 2 or QAR 6 for a day pass. For Gold cabin travel, a single journey costs QAR 10 or QAR 30 for a day pass.
Children aged 4 years and below do not require a travel card.
Standard and Limited Use travel cards can be bought and topped up at Metro Station vending machines (Standard cards can also be purchased in some of Qatar’s major retail stores). Gold travel cards should be bought at the Gold Club Information kiosks inside each Metro station. If your travel card is registered (on the Qatar Rail application), you can also top up online using a credit card.
The majority of Metro stations offer a free shuttle bus service (the Metro Link) to and from stations within a 2-5km radius. Bus stops and service times can be viewed at Metro Station entrance shelters or online via the Qatar Rail application. Buses run every 12 minutes, except for the Free Zone where buses run every 20 minutes.
Also, Metro travellers can book Karwa taxis to and from any Metro station for a flat rate of QAR 8 for a journey within 3 km. For this service, you will need to download the Karwa application and use the promotional code, RAIL.
So, for travel made quick, easy and comfortable, take a ride on Qatar’s latest transport hero, the Metro.
Returning to the Airport
Heading to the airport? There are plenty of options to get you to your destination. Buses to the airport are reassuringly regular, the Metro runs from 6 am, and, if you need to arrive for an earlier flight, private and public taxis are abundant in and around Doha.
If you are dropping off a rental car, head to the short-term car park, leaving plenty of time before your flight leaves to drop the keys and sort out the final paperwork.
If you are getting a lift to the airport, either follow the signs to the Drop Off point or head to the short-term car park. Depending on which airline you are flying with, you can park in various locations to make access to the airport and your check-in desk easier:
- Qatar Airways First or Business Class, use Entry Gate 1 and the East short-term car park;
- Qatar Airways Economy Class, use Entry Gates 2 and 3 and the West short-term car park;
- All other airlines, use Entry Gate 4 and the West short-term car park.
Short-term car parking costs QAR 6 per hour, up to five hours and QAR 5 per hour after that.
Did you know that you can park in the short-term car park for up to 15 days? Parking costs QAR 100 per day if you book online.
Long-term car parking, located to the south of the passenger terminal, is also available for up to 60 days. Complimentary shuttle buses ferry passengers to and from the terminal every 15-20 minutes. Parking costs QAR 44 per day if you pre-book online.
Keep your parking tickets safe; a lost ticket costs QAR 35 in addition to the hourly/daily tariff.
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