For visitors to Jordan, navigating the complicated roads and the somewhat chaotic driving can be a daunting task. The good news is that there are plenty of options for getting around! We at Experience Jordan are always willing to help you arrange transportation inside and outside Amman, though if your adventure includes going it alone, let us present you with a guide on getting around in Jordan.
Ride Apps – Careem and Uber
Uber, the international ride-hailing app, and its Arab world alternative Careem are readily available in Amman. However, there are several considerations with these options unique to Jordan that are important to know.
For one, these apps are currently undergoing legal battles with the government to secure their appropriate licensing. On the individual level, this means that many Jordanians who have been approved by Uber and Careem to drive do not have the government-stipulated licensing, and therefore are operating illegally.
Although these drivers still operate, the chance that they may be ticketed for doing so illegally can make for some awkward interactions, such as drivers asking passengers, even women alone, to move to the front seat to avoid suspicion. Particularly since this is highly advised against for regular cabs, this can be an uncomfortable situation for passengers.
Furthermore, there is a limited number of these drivers in Amman and they only operate the UberX option, making these trips often more expensive and forcing customers to wait longer for their ride.
On the positive side, Uber and Careem drivers in Amman must adhere to the standards of their parent companies and therefore tend to have very clean, new cars and excellent service. Furthermore, because Uber and Careem use GPS to navigate and riders can input their destination beforehand, this is an excellent option for travelers who are unfamiliar with the city and do not feel comfortable giving directions. With Uber and Careem, the GPS takes care of it.
Although one should take into considerations the pros and cons listed above, Uber and Careem nevertheless operate very professionally with their customers and are a good option for some.
Yellow (Private) Taxis
Yellow taxis are ubiquitous in and outside of Amman and can take you almost anywhere.
Perhaps the most important thing to note about yellow cabs is that they are legally required to operate with a meter. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for a cab driver to overcharge foreigners, particularly when picking up around tourist sites or hotels. Always make sure the driver uses a meter – al addad – and turns it on – shaghal al addad is the Arabic phrase for this. Fares should start at .25 for most trips, though in the evening after 9 PM this may be .30. Be sure that the driver turns on the meter before you take off – if he refuses, simply get out and hail another one.
Travelers should make note of taxi customs in Jordan. For instance, women should not sit in the front seat when travelling alone, although men may choose to do so. In terms of tipping, simply round up to an easy number with five to ten qirsh.
Some yellow taxis drivers will agree to drive visitors around for the day, for about 10 JD per hour. These drivers should be hired from a reputable company, and Experience Jordan can easily help visitors arrange them.
This is an excellent option for those looking to go on a day trip outside of Amman to one or more of the many close-by destinations. These drivers generally have excellent knowledge of the surrounding areas and can give visitors an enhanced outing. Often, private day drivers become one of the best parts of the trip, adding entertainment and information to the experience!
Public transportation in Jordan, although present, is very different than in western cities. Timetables are nearly impossible to find and may change, as the services tend to be much more informal. Although public transportation, especially between cities outside of Amman, can be a cheap option, we recommend that visitors avoid the trouble and book with a tour or a private driver.
In Amman you may see white taxis driving around. These are service taxis, a type of public transportation, which follow specified routes and are shared with other passengers. Being that this is a more local form of transportation, visitors – especially those with little Arabic – may find it very difficult to navigate these. We recommend that visitors avoid this option in favor of private taxis.