Getting around Doha isn’t easy—especially if you don’t own a car. That’s starting to change, however, with the opening of several metro lines around the capital. Whether you want to commute to the workplace, engage in some retail therapy or embark on a family day out, Doha Metro has you covered.
How to Qatar: Navigating the Doha Metro
by LISA GAY
Buy a Railcard
Queuing up for single-use tickets is a hassle, especially with kids in tow. Instead, get everyone travel cards for QR 10 each. You will have to add credit to the cards before use. Register cards on the Qatar Rail app, so that even if you or another family member lose one, you can still transfer the remaining balance. You can also top up your travel card via the app with a credit card. Fares are staggeringly cheap at the time of writing, with a flat rate of QR 2 per trip, for both children and adults (kids four and under are free). Children need to be at least nine years old to ride alone, or they may accompany another adult or family member who is at least 16 years of age.
Download the Qatar Rail App
As of late last year, all three metro lines have opened and are fully operational. View the entire metro network and check train schedules via your smartphone by downloading the Qatar Rail app. You can also figure out how to get around Doha on the metro by using their “Plan My Journey” function.
Consider Gold Club
A more comfortable rail experience can be had with the Gold Club travel card. While the card is a pricey QR 100, it virtually guarantees that you’ll have a seat regardless of the time of day. It should be noted that both the regular and Gold Club travel cards expire after five years. Again, like the regular travel card, you need to put additional credit on the card before use.
Pay attention to metro exits
Doha is a city in flux, and as a result, some exits merely lead to a glorified construction pit. Examine the boards inside the station to make sure that you are exiting close to your destination or consult one of the friendly staff.
Catch the Metrolink
While the Doha Metro coverage is decent, the network is still relatively limited. However, you can reach a surprising number of places by using Metrolink. This is a free shuttle bus service that gets you from the station to popular destinations that are just that bit too far to walk. Every station has a map outlining Metrolink routes; you can also check the Qatar Rail or Karwa Bus apps for details (Metrolink buses have the letter M on them). They run during the metro’s normal operating hours.
Hop on the MetroExpress
For access to and from West Bay QIC and the DECC, use the MetroExpress. It’s a free service for registered users of the MetroExpress app. The six-seater minivans are comfortable, clean and perfect for families. You order one through the app, much like an Uber. Generally, they arrive quickly, although we’ve waited up to five minutes for pickup. There’s no word on whether the service will expand to other stations, but for now, it’s a helpful service for those based in the West Bay area. For everyone else, there’s the option of a folding bike (we’re only partially joking!).
Hail a Karwa cab
A combination of rail and car can often get you around faster than just driving a car alone and can shorten the amount of time spent sitting in traffic. For trips relatively close to the station, hail a cab using the Karwa app, which offers metro commuters discounted fares for trips to/from the metro (within three kilometres) with the promo code RAIL.
Watch out for deals
If you have family or friends visiting, get them a day pass for QR6 (QR 30 for Gold Club) which nets them unlimited travel on the metro for the entire day. That said, a spare travel card functions much the same, as the daily cap is set at QR6 (QR 30 for Gold Club).
To promote the services of Doha Metro to the wider community, Qatar Rail often offers free rides to those attending big events in the city, particularly sporting ones. This not only helps users save a small bit of cash but also reduces the amount of traffic on the roads. In any case, you should probably consider this without the free tickets, as no one enjoys being stuck in traffic late at night!