Nawal Al Zoughbi
The best and cheapest way to get around is by taxi or a
shared taxi known locally as "service taxi". Taxis and
service taxis are usually Mercedes cars distinguished by red
number plates. Service taxis follow a pre-set route and will
stop wherever you want. If you are standing on a street they
usually stop and honk. Shout your destination and if he nods
then get in. Fares are not listed anywhere, but payment is
usually a standard charge of LL1,000 unless you are going to
another city which you may have to take more than one
service and cost may go up to 5,000 Lira.
The taxi service in Lebanon is efficient and there are
numerous cars always available. Taxi drivers will take you
anywhere in the country and some will even go across the
border to Jordan and Syria. Visitors are advised to
negotiate the fare before beginning any long journey.
The same service car can become a taxi, if you pay the fare
of the other four seats. This avoids stopping and starting
to let other passengers in or out and you will be deposited
right outside your destination.
Apart from the taxis that can be stopped on the streets,
there are numerous taxis that have meters and that can be
called in to your hotel.
Buses are also available, they cover some parts of Beirut
and a few other destinations around the country. There are
both private and state-owned buses from different sizes
which can take you anywhere for only 500 Lira. There are two
bus stations in Beirut: one outside the museum for
destinations north of Beirut and another at Cola bridge for
destinations south of Beirut.