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Grabbing a Taxi/Uber in Jordan Posted by on Feb 27, 2019 in Arabic Language, Dialect, Language, Vocabulary

In this post, we’ll talk about some key words and phrases to use when grabbing a taxi or Uber in Jordan.

First, why take a cab when you can use Uber or the Arab world alternative “Careem” “كريم”?

Well, Uber and Careem have not been welcomed by the existing Jordanian taxi industry or government. Here is a link to a video showing cab drivers protesting against Uber/Careem.

اعتصام “تاكسي” عمان احتجاجا على “أوبر” و”كريم”

Uber is actually illegal غَيْر قَانُوني in Jordan, just not severely regulated. If an Uber/Careem driver is spot by police, they could get a warrant causing them sometimes to drop off passengers in areas where they are sure there are no police. Still, just download the app and you can order Uber/Careem at any time.

A taxi

Image via Pixabay

I have taken too many taxis in Jordan to count and recently, Careem. Here are some key phrases to know including a few things to look out for.

The first thing I like to say when entering a cab/Uber is the formal “Peace be upon you” “السلام عليكم”. You could of course say “hello” “مرحبا”, but I always like to keep it as formal as possible.

In terms of sitting in the front or back, if you are a single male, sit in the front. If you are a female, its more prevalent to sit in the back. If you are a group of three women for example, one can sit in the front. I myself have done this many times and it’s fine.

Amman is made up of eight circles. Many restaurants, centers, malls, etc. are located around these circles or roundabouts. If you know that the place you’re heading to is near one of these circles you could easily say” The sixth circle, please” “دوار السادس، لو سمحت.”.

Once you get closer to your destination, you could say” Right here please” “هون لو سمحت.” or “at the … please” “عند ال… لو سمحت.”. Of course, words such as (right, left, straight) (يمين، شمال، دُغري) are important to know. Even with Uber/Careem, not all drivers know the exact directions which make these phrases also useful.

There are also well-known names of streets such as Mecca street شارع مكة or Queen Rania street شارع الملكة رانيا, airport road شارع المطار, etc.

With cabs, one thing to pay attention to is the meter عداد. All cabs should start their meter once you enter the taxi. Some cab drivers forget to start it, and rarely some purposely don’t start it so they can charge you more. If you see that the meter is not going you can say” Excuse me, is the meter going”? “عفواً، العداد شغال؟” Of course, it also helps to have an idea of what it costs to get to a certain place just in case.

Some cab drivers may smoke in the car. If this bothers you, you can say “Excuse me, could you please not smoke?” “عفواً، ممكن لا تدخن؟

Before exiting the car, say “Thank you, good bye.” “شكراً، مع السلامة

From my experience, using Uber/Careem has been good in that I don’t have to worry about the driver smoking or not having heat or air conditioning due to the rating system. I also don’t have to worry about the meter since the price is set.

Keep in mind though, you may end up using both taxis and Uber/Careem. There could be instances where you walk out and find a cab right there and decide you won’t want to wait for the Uber to arrive.

In any case, I hope you find this useful if you are planning to travel to Jordan! 🙂

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About the Author: yasmine

MarHaba! I am half Jordanian of Circassian descent and half American. I have a Master's in Second Language Teaching and I teach Arabic as a foreign language here in the US, both MSA and Levantine Arabic. I hope to help you become more familiar and interested in the Arabic language and culture.