Category Archives: Transportation

Expats barred from driving car out of Qatar unless fully repaid

Some questions still remain for this major move i.e. what if the vehicle is obtained through company via salary deduction. Like mine, istimarah shows my name on the front page although it is financed through company. My friend said that what matter most is what is written at the lower right section on the rear side of istimarah. If it says something like “belongs to/financed by Bank XYZ” or “belongs to/financed by company ABC” in Arabic, then this rule applies. But once the owner has a chance to fully repay he needs to make sure that he obtains loan clearance certificate and transfer its vehicle’s istimarah to under his name to be able to cross the border.

In addition to this, the circular from Qatar Central Bank also noted some important changes:

1. Total vehicle financed should not exceed 80% of the value of the vehicle (including interest rate and all charges). So, down payment to be made in the region of 20-30% 

2. Maximum term of loan is now only 4 years

3. To get vehicle finance, salary must be transferred to respective loan-issuing bank.

4. Max loan value for expat 400,000 QAR (even if expats own salary of 100,000 QR per month, 400K applies (including personal loan etc should not exceed 400K)

5. Expired credit card issued by a bank with whom card holder doesn’t transfer his/her salary to will not be extended.

6. All credit card outstanding is also included in 400K max loan value.

7. Maximum monthly payment should not exceed 1/3 of salary (minus all liabilities)

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DOHA: In a major move, expatriates have been barred from driving private cars out of Qatar and they could cross the country’s borders only if they prove that loans taken to buy vehicles have been fully repaid.

So, expatriate motorists need to produce loan clearance certificates from a bank or a financial services company to be able to cross the border through Abu Samra land customs check point.

The Department of Traffic at the Ministry of Interior has issued a circular to the land customs authorities at Abu Samra asking them not to allow any expatriate to leave the country in a private car unless he or she produces a loan clearance certificate.

The certificate must say that loan taken for the car being driven out of Qatar has been fully repaid.

A large number of expatriates who were travelling overseas through Abu Samra customs check point on Thursday were sent back by the customs authorities due to the new directives of the Traffic Department, Al Sharq reported yesterday.

The daily said that within hours after the diktat of the traffic authorities was issued a number of expatriates, some of them travelling with their families, had to return from the customs check point disappointed.

Expatriates from countries like Syria, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, among others, will be hit hard by the decision since they mostly travel to their home countries in their cars.

Non-Arab expatriates traveling in their cars to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage or those going to the UAE, Bahrain or Oman by road will also be affected.

It is understood that the move by the traffic authorities is aimed at making sure that expatriates who take car loans do not leave the country for good with the vehicles (bought through such loans) unless they have fully repaid the loan.

Source: The Peninsula

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Updated Prices on Car

Saw several advertisement on car in Gulf Times during the month of May and thought that they are useful for my blog’s readers.

Note: I am not a car dealer and have no vested interest on the listed brands here 🙂

Updated 12 Sep 2010

Mazda 3 2010 Model, starting from QR66,000

Mazda 6 2009 Model, starting from 74,666

Mazda CX-7, 2010 Model, starting from 119,666

Ford Expedition starting from QR127,000 (free car registration)

Ford Flex, starting from QR119,000 (free car registration)

Ford Escape, starting from QR92,000 (free car registration)

Hyundai Santa Fee, 2010 Model QR82,999

Hyundai Elantra, 2010 Model QR43,999

Hyundai Accent, 2010 Model QR36,999

Hyundai Sonata, 2011 Model QR72,999

Hyundai Tucson, 2011 Model QR78,999

Renault Megane Convertible, starting QR84,000 (free registration)

Renault Koleos, starting QR71,000 (free registration and insurance)

Renault Safrane, starting QR62,000 (free registration)

Renault Fluence, starting QR52,000 (free registration)

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Jeep Grand Cherokee QR105,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Cherokee QR 94,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Commander QR139,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Patriot QR 85,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Jeep Wrangler QR 84,000 (Free insurance, registration, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Dodge Charger 2010 QR89,000 (Free registration, free insurance, 5 years manufacturer warranty)

Chevrolet Cruze 2010 (QR1,111 a month) – 6-year installment

Chevrolet Malibu 2010 (QR1,444 a month) – 6-year installment

Chevrolet Tahoe 2010 (QR2,399 a month) – 6-year installment

Chevrolet Silverado Single Cab 2010 (QR99,900)

GM Yukon 2010 (QR2222 a month) – not clear how many installment

GM Acadia 2010 (QR1999 a month) – not clear how many installment

Jaguar XK 2010 starting from QR335,000 (5 years warranty, 5 years road assistance, free registration)

Jaguar XF 2010 starting from QR195,000 (5 years warranty, 5 years road assistance, free registration)

Nissan Tiida 2010 starting from QR54,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Altima 2010 starting from QR70,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Qashqai 2010 starting from QR70,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Armada 2010 starting from QR118,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Nissan Patrol 2010 starting from QR120,000 (Free 1 year comprehensive insurance, 1 year service, registration)

Mercedes-Benz Used Car:

S280 Saloon 2008 QR175,000

S500L Saloon 2008 QR269,000

SLK350 2009 QR175,000

CLS63 AMG Coupe 2008 QR270,000

C280 Saloon 2008 QR115,000

ML500 2006 QR119,000

ML350 Sports 2006 QR99,000

E63AMG 2007 QR149,000

B150/160 2007 QR59,000

Used Passenger Car:

Porsche Cayenne 2009 Black QR190,000

Infiniti M45 2007 Black 99,000

Cherokee

With outdoor options left to desert, beaches and offroad, the need to have a robust 4×4 is inevitable. There are few names that commonly found in Qatar for the said outdoor activities: Toyota Land Cruiser, Nissan Patrol, Mitsubishi Pajero, and Jeep Cherokee. For light off-road, you can still use the “normal” 4×4 car, but sometimes it’s to good to be “abused” in desert, or sand dune.

I already have a city-&-light-offroad 4×4 Mitsubishi Outlander, but thanks to “poison” that my beloved Indonesian poured into me such that I am seduced to buy a second 4×4 special for outdoor and sand dune activities. Although the former can be brought and driven on the desert or dune bashing, it’s just too good to use.

So, here I am with 2001  Jeep Cherokee Classic.

My 2001 Jeep Cherokee Classic
I live. I ride. I am. Jeep
Trail Rated 4x4. We test Jeep® 4x4s on the toughest trails in the world to prove one thing: They can take whatever you dish out. The Trail Rated® badge means that your Jeep 4x4 has been designed to perform in five categories of off-road conditions: traction, ground clearance, maneuverability, articulation, and water fording.

Why Cherokee? It’s more affordable than Land Cruiser or Patrol (for example, 2001 Cherokee Classic is about 18K-22K, while Land Cruiser is above 60K, or 40K in the case of Patrol), yet it’s a though 4×4, and its offroad capability is comparable.

For all Indonesian Cherokee enthusiasts in Qatar we even establish a group: IPCRQL (literally: Old Cherokee Enthusiast Group). With as little as 11 members in December (6 Qatargas, 1 QP, 4 Shell GTL) and growing, IPCRQL is ready to infect other Indonesian with its “poisons” …hahahaha….beware guys!

Living in Qatar, we need to search for a new hobby, to make new friends, or to just live up the life here. To be honest, I did not understand 4×4, dune bashing, offroading, and Jeep, only after I bought it recently. And Cherokee helps me find a new hobby, make new friends and make life enjoyable here.

Karwa Taxi Fare

Flag fall (including first 500m)   QR4

Rate inside Doha – Day Time per km    QR1.2

Rate inside Doha – Night Time per km QR1.8

Rate outside Doha – All Day per km     QR1.8

Extra Tariff

Airport Pickup  QR18

Telephone Booking   QR4

Waiting time per 15 minutes (after 10 min)    QR8

More complete taxi tariff including limousine and VIP limousine are on Mowasalat website.

From Qatarliving: there are 3 types of karwa taxi fleets plying the roads of Doha:

1, Call center fleet – these are pre-booked via their call center number 458-8888.

2. Regular taxi fleet (driver wears Blue ID tag)- those that have stations/terminals in malls and other strategic locations around Doha. These taxis go by the meter.

3. Boundary taxi fleet (driver wears RED ID tag)- these drivers are on quota of QAR240 per day to be turned over at the end of their shift. These drivers sometimes doesn’t use the meter and sometimes would get passengers to fill up the taxi seats and charge per head (provided that all passengers are in the same route)

flydubai – Budget airline to begin Doha-Dubai flight

Dubai’s low cost airline, flydubai, is connecting Doha twice daily from October 18, the first GCC destination for the government-owned carrier. The airline is offering a one-way fare to Dubai, from QR165, which includes all taxes and a piece of hand baggage weighing up to 10kg. Tickets are available for purchase from the website (flydubai.com), call centre in Dubai (+9714-3010800) and travel agents from today.

Gaith al-Gaith, flydubai chief executive officer, said passengers have the option to purchase checked-in baggage in advance at just QR40 for the first piece and QR100 for the second, weighing up to 32 kg, subject to
availability. A nominal payment of QR5 allows customers to select their seat and just QR50 secures the extra legroom positions. Bookings can be changed for a small fee, plus any difference in the fare, and food and drink can be
purchased on board.

“The flydubai model is simple, with customers paying only for the services they want to receive,” he said.
Both flights from and to Doha will target peak travel times on one of the busiest routes in the GCC. FZ002 will leave Doha at 8:30am, with the evening flight FZ008 leaving at 9:20pm. The flight time to Dubai is one hour.
Return flights FZ001 and FZ007 will leave Dubai at 7:30am and 8:20pm respectively, arriving in Doha at 7:30am and 8:20pm (local time). The number of economy class seats on the flydubai aircraft will be 189.

Al-Gaith said the low-cost carrier planned to fly to 12 destinations before the year-end.
He said, “We have plans to fly to India, Pakistan and some other countries which are all within a four hour flying time from Dubai.”
“flydubai has worked closely with the Qatari authorities to bring about this announcement and I would like to thank them, and especially Abdul Aziz Mohamed al-Noaimi, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, for their hard work and support.” Al-Noaimi said, “flydubai will be a great addition to the existing flight schedule between Doha and Dubai as it will give so many more people another option when travelling.

“Doha and Dubai are both great examples of successful cities that have gained international recognition. This new service will strengthen our links and help us both maintain our growth well into the future.”

(Source: Gulf-times 6 Oct 2009)

Qatar Railway Plan on the right track

Better late than never. Finally it comes to Qatar, Qatar Railway System. I can imagine: park my car in the nearest station, take the train to Ras Laffan in few minutes, and take shuttle bus to QG site. With glacial time in Qatar, I am not sure if this will be available for use soon 🙂

Update 21 September 2011

Qatar Railways Co, or QRail, the operator of the Gulf State’s planned QR130bn ($36bn) rail network, will award the first construction contract on the project in July next year (Source: Gulf Times)

Update 7 June 2011

Now they say construction start in 2012 (Gulf Times) and 2013 (The Peninsula) 🙂

(Source: Gulf Times, 7 June 2011, “Rail system plan gathers steam”)

The proposed integrated railway system for Qatar will have four main stations, such as New Doha International Airport (NDIA), Education City,  Doha Main Station, and West Bay Central Station.

This was announced yesterday at a presentation by Qatar Railways Company senior corporate development co-ordinator Sheikha Loulwa al-Thani at the Rail Hall of Qatar Railways Development Company (QRDC) in Lusail.

“The Qatar railway project will consist of the Doha Metro system, the long-distance high speed rail link, and the freight line,” she explained.

Gulf Times had reported earlier that the total budget for rail development in Qatar is estimated at about QR130bn and key sections of the project would be completed by 2020, two years ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The total completion of the rail network is slated for 2026. The project is being managed by QRDC, a 51:49 joint venture of state-owned property development group Qatari Diar and Deutsche Bahn International.

“The metro lines connecting the inner and outer areas of Doha and integrated with NDIA, Lusail City, and The Pearl Qatar, and long-distance high-speed links connecting north and west of the country and with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will touch each of the main stations,” the official stated.

The West Bay Central is an underground station of three levels. It will be 300m wide and 40m deep, with retail stores, food court, and banking services among others.

“The semi transparent roof will let in natural sunlight during the day and at night passengers can see the lights of the neighbouring towers,” Sheikha Loulwa said.

A big screen digital simulation of the interior of the West Bay Central Station, installed in the Rail Hall, gives a futuristic rendition of the facility.

There will be an integrated control centre for the Qatar Railway network. The number of passengers and their arrival and departure destinations can be monitored from the centre.

A separate presentation, prepared by QRDC, revealed that if a million people are living today in the metropolitan area of Doha, this figure is expected to touch 3mn in another decade.

Doha’s West Bay will host 100,000 people in five years. The travel time by train from West Bay Station to NDIA will be 22 minutes, 15 minutes to Lusail, and eight minutes to downtown Doha.

The metro and long distance rail network are expected to reduce traffic congestion currently experienced in and around Doha.

There will be a total of 80 stations for the metro. The metro and the long distance lines together will have 651kms track and 98 stations. These will be integrated with Light Rapid System and people mover systems.

The 340km freight line will connect the industrial areas in Qatar such as Ras Laffan, Dukhan and Mesaieed as well as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. There will be three main terminals. A total of 14 trains and 2,500 wagons are to run daily. QRDC expects to start construction in 2012, it was reported earlier.

A digital simulation of West Bay Central Station

(Source: Gulf Times, 7 June 2011, “Travel times for long-distance commuters“)

Students from Bahrain can reach Qatar Foundation’s Education City in just 51 minutes when the proposed long-distance rail network becomes a reality.

“This would allow students from Bahrain to commute to Education City daily,” it was mentioned in a presentation given by Qatar Railways Development Company yesterday.

The long-distance rail network is a component of the Qatar railway project which also includes the Doha Metro system, and the freight line.

The total completion of the QR130bn railway project is slated for 2026, but key sections of the project would be completed by 2020, two years ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The travel time from the New Doha International Airport (NDIA) to Bahrain is 1:21 hours in the long-distance rail network. This is expected to attract many Qatar-Bahrain-Qatar air travellers to rail travel.

When the Qatar Railways is linked to the proposed GCC rail network, the travel time from NDIA to Dammam in Saudi Arabia will be 1:45 hours, 3:06 hours to Abu Dhabi, 3:28 hours to Dubai, 4:57 hours to Fujairah, and 6:19 hours to Muscat.

Within Doha, travel time from NDIA will be 10 minutes to the Doha Main Station, 17 minutes to West Bay Central Station, 28 minutes to Education City, 48 minutes to Al Khor, 1:02 hours to Ras Laffan, and 1:08 hours to Dukhan

Update 30 Mar 2011 (Source: The Peninsula, “Railway construction to begin in May”)

Construction for the state-of-the-art integrated railway network project of Qatar will start in May, an official of Qatar Railways Company
(QRC) has said.

Eng. Geoff Mee, QRC Chief Business Development Director, yesterday told members of Qatar Society of Engineers that an industry awareness event will be held in May to launch the ambitious project which has a projected budget of QR130bn.

“Representatives of world’s railways’ best consultancy, advisory, construction and operations companies will attend presentations to explain the scale of the projects, timelines and procurement strategies to deliver the project,” said Eng Mee addressing over a hundred in attendance at a seminar titled ‘Turning an Integrated Transport Vision for Qatar into Reality’.

The recently formed Qatar Railways Development Company, a 51/49 joint venture between Qatari Diar, represented by QRC and DB International, will be the sole entity responsible for developing and integrating Qatar’s visionary railway network, encompassing a range of transport modes such as metro systems, long distance passenger travel, and freight transport.

QRDC will also connect Qatar’s network to neighbouring countries via the Bahrain-Qatar causeway, to create the region’s first fully integrated railway system. Initial studies of the ambitious project and the preliminary design for the integrated railway network have already been completed.

Procurement process for the project will start in June and construction will kick off in 2012. “The entire project will be completed by 2026 but the network needed for the World Cup 2022 will be finished by 2020,” said Eng Mee.

He underscored the importance of raising awareness among the public of the benefits of the integrated railway network which will see the emergence of a new industry. “An integrated railway is vital as Qatar transforms into a world-class economy by 2030 sustaining its own development and providing high standard of living for all. It is also needed as it seeks comprehensive urban development plan that adopts sustainable policy.”

Sep 2009

Qatar is preparing to tender construction work on one of the five rail networks it plans to build over the next 10 years, MEED has reported. The New Doha International Airport Steering Committee has invited companies to pre-qualify for a contract to build a train station at the $11bn airport that is under construction close to Doha’s existing one.

UK-based Mace International is the project manager for the scheme, known as the Passenger Rail Station Box. The project involves building a railway station terminal for an express airport rail line that will connect to rail and metro stations in downtown Doha and other rail networks. Sources familiar with the project say the steering committee wants to finish the station in time for the opening of the first Phase of the airport in 2011. Consultants expect the Trade and Business Ministry to invite them to submit proposals for a national railway system in 2010.

Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, in partnership with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, has already developed a conceptual design for a national railway system in Qatar. The companies’ multi-billion dollar conceptual design has five components. It includes an east coast rail link between Ras Laffan and Mesaieed, a high-speed link from Doha to Bahrain across the planned causeway, a freight link connecting into the planned GCC rail network, a Doha metro network and a light rail network serving residential developments. It was in August last year that Qatar took a major step aimed at developing a comprehensive and consolidated national railway system with Diar and Deutsche Bahn signing a memorandum of understanding to prepare the ground work for the project which consists of the following:

1) The east coast rail link, a passenger and freight railway linking Ras Laffan and Mesaieed via Doha.

2) The high speed link between the New Doha International Airport, Doha City Centre and Bahrain via the planned causeway.

3) The freight rail link based on the GCC rail and Doha Expressway studies.

4) The Doha Metro network based on the Qatar Transport Master Plan and

5) The light rail/people mover network linking Lusail, Education City and the West Bay.

Source: Gulf Times, 3 September 2009

Unofficial picture showing network of Doha Metro
Unofficial picture showing network of Doha Metro

Etihad

Kenapa waktu berjalan begitu lambat…..penerbangan ini…..waktu tunggu itu….Tidak salah memang yang mengatakan Time flies if you’re having fun dan menunggu adalah pekerjaan yangmembosankan.

Meskipun tidak selama pener bangan terpanjang yang pernah aku lakukan dari Singapore – Moscow – Houston (hampir 22 jam), penerbangan total 11 jam Doha ke Balikpapan (tak termasuk waktu tunggu, transit dan taxi) tetap saja terasa lama.

Penerbangan Etihad ke Abu Dhabi berangkat tepat waktu 22.40 PM. Sebelumnya diantar oleh Hyundai santa Fe-nya Oom Edy aku tiba di Doha International Airport sekitar jam 19.30-an. Counter check-in sudah buka sehingga aku bisa langsung check-in. Sisa waktu hampir dua jam sebelum boarding aku pakai buat makan malam, sholat, browsing internet dan beli buku. Aku masih belum percaya – seperti bayanganku pertama kali datang ke Doha – bahwa bandara international di negara kaya ini tidak banyak menawarkan enjoyment buat penggunanya. Nothing virtually can be done in this tiny airport. Semoga bandara baru New Doha International Airport yang sedang dibangun memberi banyak kenyamanan, dan enjoyment buat penunggu penasaran seperti aku ini.

Penerbangan ke Abu Dhabi sangat singkat. 15 menit pesawat mengudara, pramugari membagikan hotdog lalu mengumpulkan sampahnya 10-15 menit kemudian karena pesawat akan landing. Penerbangan ke Abu Dhabi hanya memakan waktu 45-50 menit.

Lalu, uhhh, Abu Dhabi memberikan kejutan, begitu masuk ke transit lounge, penumpang dipaparkan pada atrium sentral bundar dengan tiang bermotif mozaic yang penuh dengan kerumunan banyak orang yang sibuk mencari-cari arah ke gatenya masing-masing serta kepungan toko duty free. Seolah Abu Dhabi menyuruh sok belanja dengan nada memaksa. Kalau Anda pernah transit di Singapore, di Domodedovo Moscow, atau LAX Los Angeles, Anda akan percaya bahwa begitu datang dan langsung dihadapkan pada kerumunan banyak orang dan masuk ke labirin duty free adalah sambutan yang kurang menyamankan.

Selepas atrium dan melewati security check, aku mesti melewati koridor panjang sejauh 15 menit jalan kaki (andai kecepatan jalan kaki adalah 6 km/jam rata-rata maka jaraknya adalah 1.5 km). Tidak menunggu lama, aku boarding tepat waktu ke pesawat airbus A330 Etihad yang akan membawaku ke Jakarta.

Praktis satu jam aku berada di dalam perut pesawat bernada beige di interiornya ini sampai pesawat take-off. Fasilitas kamera di bawah pesawat dan di depan pesawat cukup mampu mengagumkan anak desa ini – (baru kali ini jek naik pesawat dengan fasilitas kamera – tidak juga pesawat antar benua milik SIA yang aku tumpangi 5 bulan lalu).

Beberapa catatan mengenai tiket, layanan dan performa Etihad yang aku tumpangi:

          Layanan ground handling bagus.

          Boarding, take off dan landing tepat waktu dengan margin tidak sampai 10 menit

          Leg room Etihad jarak pendek (A319) lebih roomy dibanding Etihad jarak jauh (A330)

          Makanan sesuai pesanan via internet. Kualitas tidak konsisten. Kadang enak kadang biasa. Kebanyakan overcooked.

          Layanan di udara cukup bagus

          Entertainment dengan pilihan games, movie, audio, TV, communication, dan maps/camera. Pilihan film terbaru terbatas. Musik dan film Indonesia agak terbatas dibanding misalnya SIA atau Qatar Airways jarak jauh.

          Amenities standard

          Harga tiket saat itu: QAR2980 (round trip, satu level di atas tiket termurah QAR2500).