Service, Taxi

Cabs--you know, taxis. I would call them a taxis if I wasn't in Beirut.

But in Beirut, "taxi" isn't necessarily the car, it's what you get if you pay ~ $6.70. Your $6.70 pays for a one-way trip and you get the car to yourself.

Ask for "service" -- pronounce it with your best impostor-French accent -- and you only pay ~ $1.35. You'll have to share the car with other passengers, though. Along the way, the driver will attempt to fill all the vacant seats, slowing down or stopping before any warm body just in case they want to go the same direction you're going. You simply have to share with anyone the driver finds, and your trip will take quite a bit longer (what with all the slowing, stopping, haggling) than if you had paid for "taxi". It's like a spontaneous car-pool.

I personally prefer service to taxi. I'm miserly and green like that.

Lately, I've noticed a lot of cabs have this emblem on the side--and I hadn't noticed them before a few weeks ago. I'm inclined to say they're a new thing, though I could simply have been inattentive.  Not all the cabs have them, so I was curious about why some do and some don't.  I tried to find information about it online and didn't find anything except one story about a big taxi-union protest last April. I don't remember hearing anything about that last year.

I'd love to know more about the door emblems for cabs around here--if anyone has a link to share, I'd appreciate it.


  1. I would also choose the "service":)

  2. "Service" is a good system. I always take one from the airport, saving at least 1/5 of the cost of a cab. But sometimes you have to wait up to one hour for the van to fill up with ten passengers.

    Do your cabs have a meter at all?

  3. I don't think I've ever seen meters in the cabs here.

  4. A while back some cab company shipped in a fleet of big black London taxis which are metered, but I can't even imagine who takes those!
    Wish you could get a service from Beirut Airport, but I don't think you can unless you haul your baggage out of the airport grounds onto the main road to pick one up there.