In 2002, the Qatari government launched Mowasalat, a company 100% owned by the Royal family, managed and operated by the state authorities to ensure the smooth provision of "integrated ground transport services" for the entire country with a growing population of more than 1,400,000 people. Previously, 3,000 privately-owned orange taxis used to rule the streets of Qatar but the government took them off the roads as they saw them as a threat to the new Mowasalat taxis. There has been much controversy over this move, as it is now very hard to find a taxi in Doha.
Most of the drivers of Mowasalat—many hired from the Indian subcontinent—were said to be trained on roads, street names & key destinations, but the results of this are debatable, as the quality of service is disparaged amongst the citizens of Doha. There are complaints of drivers not having even a basic knowledge of either Arabic or English languages. However they are seen to be more hygienic than the drivers of the orange-white taxis, which were found around Doha until early 2000s.
Public buses now service over 35 routes covering most locations of Doha with very minimal fares making public transport in Qatar a thrifty solution to the problems of rush hours and parking difficulties.
Presently, Mowasalat, under the brand-name 'Karwa', now operates more than 3,000 new and well-maintained taxi sedans including the recently acquired airport taxis with spacious cabins using the 2007 Ford Freestars, and more than 120 public buses, school buses and private-hire coaches. In 2009, the Mowasalat created a world record for the largest parade of buses numbering 300 in all. In addition, its Doha Limousine Service has 100 standard (unbranded, no Karwa logo) limousines and 200 (Jaguar XJ) VIP units that are mostly placed at the Doha International Airport and at major hotels.
However, those who are with no own transportation still face difficulties to move around since the number of taxis are much less compared to the actual need of the increased population. All the line buses operate only through the assigned specific lines based to the Central Bus Stations at Al-Ghanem area of the old city.
There are currently no railways in Qatar.
In August 2008 Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment appointed Deutsche Bahn of Germany to plan a railway network in Qatar. On 22 November 2009 Deutsche Bahn and Qatari signed a contract to build high-speed railway lines and underground transport networks in Qatar and Bahrain. The contract creates a new company called Qatar Railways Development Company (QRDC).
The planned metro lines within Greater Doha are for 354 kilometres (220 mi), and the planned national railway is for a total distance of 345 kilometres (214 mi). Construction of the metro, which was originally planned to start in the first quarter of 2010, is planned to begin in 2011 and be completed in 2022.
- Gauge: 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in)
- Brakes: Air
- Couplings (freight): TBA
- Electrification: 25kV AC
total: 1,230 km
paved: 1,107 km
unpaved: 123 km (1996 est.)
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