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A tourists guide to Lebanese Transportation II

August 20, 2011

Ser-vees Do’s and Don’ts

Servees Beiruti

  1. Do check that the car has a RED plate number, a plastic “taxi” sign can be bought from any shop, it doesn’t mean this is a legal cab!
  2. Do agree on the price before entering the Ser-vees.
  3. Do let the driver know before or the moment you get into the cab if you don’t have change (anything larger than 20,000 L.L/$13.6)
  4. If the driver says “Taxi”, Do know that he will make you pay a high fare (about $6.8 or more) and not the standard one! Be very specific about what kind of ride you want
  5. Don’t get into a cab parked in-front of a hotel! They are all Taxis! (+ the overcharge you more since you left from a hotel, don’t ask me why… tourism taxes?)
  6. Do walk a few steps away from your hotel and get a cab from the street
  7. Do pick an appropriate time to pay the driver; not at the roundabout, or when the driver is trying to over-pass pedestrians/cars, or day-dreaming that he’s driving a ferrari. Pick a time like, while standing at a red light, during open slow traffic… (you get the drift)
  8. Do pay the driver before you get to were you want to stop exactly, to avoid blocking the road and honking while you pay at a sudden stop
  9. If you aren’t very familiar with the regular price for your trip, Do ask a friend (There is no reason for you to pay more than a single fare (2,000L.L) from Ashrafiyeh to Hamra or vice-versa)
  10. Do be very specific on where you want the driver to drop you of
  11. If your destination is eye-sight away from the driver wants to drop you off, so he can make a turn, or head to his next destination… please Do so (unless you’ve asked for a taxi ride)
  12. Don’t engage in political conversation offending the driver, to avoid getting kicked out of the car
  13. Don’t argue! If you do disagree with the driver, node politely
  14. Don’t engage in personal phone calls; drivers tend to find your life story entertaining and may like to share with you their wisdom on life
  15. Do expect that a driver may change their mind about taking you to your destination if the traffic is a stand still
  16. Do expect the driver to pick up a cigarette and smoke without warning
  17. Do mention that you have allergies/asthma politely to avoid smoke or air fresheners when you get in the car, or when it looks like the driver or other passengers want to smoke. (Some drivers are very polite and ask if you mind, but not all)
  18. Do mention that you are in a hurry (If you are) before getting into the Ser-vees just in case the driver has a few detours in mind to drop off passengers or pick up more
  19. If you are not too familiar with the route to your destination, Don’t show it!
  20. Don’t comment on whatever is blasting on the radio in the car, you can never know the driver’s real opinion
  21. Do let the cab driver complain about fuel prices, expenses, taxes, traffic and the endless stream of things to complain about in life, on the very common occasion that he wants to
  22. Do judge a car by it’s looks.. Yes, torn down cars on the outside, will be torn down on the side, your paying for the petrol not the couches.. your choice!
  23. Finally… Be nice, it’s not easy being a cab driver, words like please and thank you, tfadal, yislamo, ya3teek il 3afyeh, are always pleasant to hear
Advice from the timeline:
  1. Always have a lebanese friend with you 🙂 & ask for service not taxi when stopping a cab @noornet
  2. Run for ur life. Literally #healthywalk @Lipsie
  3. never pay them as they say. Always ask a non cab driver about price rates @Hishamad
  4. plug your earphones cause those guys do Talk @CarlaOw
  5. don’t talk politics. Some are lunatics @jkanounji
  6. Never take a cab from baabda to ashrafieh, you’ll get stock in trafic with old cabdriver talking about politics in the heat. @JMKHAWAM
  7. Negotiate THEN ride! @alachkarani
  8. brace urself it’s going to b a wild ride! 🙂 @loulsk
  9. don’t take them 😛 just kidding…just be ready to hear LOTS of swear words and see a lot of spitting from the driver 😛 @marianna2895
Previous Post: Ser-vees to Hamra
6 Comments leave one →
  1. thereminaGR permalink
    August 23, 2011 3:21 pm

    re #5 – Actually, taking a taxi from the hotel entrance may be a good idea in certain instances. As a European solo female traveler, I feel “safer” choosing a taxi while standing in a well-lit location (not to mention the security cameras), especially late at night.
    Sometimes – and this is esp. true of Beirut – the cab drivers are standing and waiting *outside* their vehicle, so you can evaluate them beforehand. Their attire, their demeanor, their overall professional (or not) appearance.
    I walk into the hotel lobby, and walk out again in a minute or so, and then pretend to randomly choose a driver (the truth is I’ve sized them up during the in/out procedure — avoiding the obvious smokers, or those with worry beads in hand, etc.).
    Downtown Beirut, my choice is to pick up a driver in front of Le Gray – if only to take me back to my more affordable Hamra hotel! The taxi rate for late night rides is worth the extra $$$ to not have to be on alert mode, especially after a night on the town.

    • August 23, 2011 3:27 pm

      You’re absolutely right! It’s not the best idea to get in a ser-vees for late night rides..
      however that maybe a bit un-fair to some drivers,
      But for the safest midnight ride, i prefer calling a taxi company…

  2. Ahmed permalink
    August 31, 2011 6:32 pm

    This is more or less like Egyptian taxi service. Egyptian drivers are not fanatic about politics, and will offer a smoke after waiting for you to offer him one. they wouldn’t mind changing the radio channel. All other advice mentioned in the article is very valid in Egypt. I guess Egyptians and Lebanese have a lot in common.


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