Getting home by taxi

After a night out in an Arab city you will probably make your way home by taxi, since public transport is not always what you would like it to be.
All the world over there can be problems dealing with taxi-drivers, and the Arab world is no exception.
Discussing the fare with a taxi driver is different from negotiating the price of, say, a dress or some incense. You will see that you have failed in your haggling if the taxi drives off. But before you get to that point, you can very usefully try out your Arabic negotiating skills so long as you have gathered from a local roughly what you should pay.

When you ask the driver if he can take you to the address you want, he will probably reply with insha’allah (Yes, if God wills). This is completely natural and instinctive since everything which happens is because of the will of Allah. It does NOT mean that there is some doubt as to whether you will actually make it to the destination.

Useful phrases

Please switch on the meter.
shaghil al-3adaad law samaHt

شَغِل العداد لو سمحت

The best way to get the right price for a taxi is to ask the driver to switch the meter on. Normally all drivers have to drive with the meter, but there are always some who want to try to get a little bit more baqsheesh from foreign tourists.

The meter is broken.
al-3adaad la ya3mal

العداد لا يعْمَل

You might hear this sentence if the taxi driver is not willing to switch on the meter, whether it is true or not. You should also be aware that there are often routes where meters are not used, especially if you want to leave the city, go on a tour or drive to the airport. In these situations you will almost always encounter fixed prices. However, before getting into a taxi, it will be helpful to ask locals what prices they pay for the same distances.

I won’t pay more than 8 dinar.
la adfa3 akthar min thamaaniyat danaaneer.

لا أدفَع أكثَر مِن ثَمانية دَنانير

You can use this phrase to clarify your position with a taxi driver and indicate that this is as much as you are going to pay. You can also use the word ghaalee (expensive) to express your astonishment about prices.

haadha ghaalee jiddan. la adfa3 akthar min …
This is very expensive. I won’t pay more than …



you can use this word to express absolute rejection and make your opinion clear.



With the word Hasanan you can express that you agree with someone or something. Another word that is a little more colloquial is maashee. It is very common and widespread. You can use it in many situations. The word maashee is also used as a possible answer to the question ‘How are you?’


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