Lebanon is a small nation with a journey from north to south taking less than three hours. Service taxis, buses, and cars are the most common modes of transportation.
The bulk of passengers rely on service cabs to move around. “Service” taxis run on fixed routes between towns and cities, similar to buses, but they may be booked to reach additional locations with little discussion. Each cab transports between 4 (within metropolitan regions) and 6 (longer trips) people who split the price. For small distances of a few kilometers/miles, the fare is 2000 LL (Lebanese lira), which is approximately $1.33, and rises based on the distance to be driven, traffic on that particular route, and, of course, persuasion/negotiation abilities, as with everything in Lebanon. A private Taxi trip without having to share with other passengers is comparable to a “Service” Taxi in that it requires the same pre-negotiation to set the price, and it costs at least 10,000 LL (6.66 US$) as a rule of thumb. A word of caution: never board a cab or “service” without first agreeing on a fee.
Taxis and “service” taxis are essentially the same, and the method of operation is determined by passenger availability and demand. In Lebanon, the bulk of “service” taxis are 1975 Mercedes vehicles that scour the streets seeking customers by honking their horns. Newer vehicle types that primarily serve as “service” taxis are beginning to emerge on Lebanese streets, with the same price tag as their older sisters.
The Red-colored license plate may be seen on all kinds of public transportation vehicles in Lebanon (taxis, buses, minivans, and even trucks).
There are many city-link bus lines that are both convenient and inexpensive. The Charles Helou Station (east of downtown) is where most buses to north Lebanon leave, whereas the Cola “Station” is where most buses to the south and southeast of Beirut (including Damascus and Baalbek) depart (which is really an intersection adjacent to the Cola bridgeoverpass).
In comparison to other countries in the area, renting a car in Lebanon is rather costly. With persistence and negotiation, reasonable, if not precisely inexpensive, prices may be obtained, and once you have your rental, gasoline is simple to come by. However, keep in mind that gasoline is not cheap, and it is one of the most impacted by inflation.
The majority of Lebanon’s roads are in poor condition, and Lebanese drivers are not renowned for their prudence. When driving in Lebanon, use great care. Even in places unaffected by the Israeli attack, huge potholes can be seen on major multi-lane highways in downtown Beirut.
For Western drivers who are used to safe driving, driving in Lebanon should be regarded an intense activity. The names of the streets are almost non-existent. Mountain driving is especially dangerous, since it often involves one-car highways in two-way streets. During peak hours, traffic in large cities like as Beirut and Tripoli, as well as on the route from Beirut to Kaslik, may be highly congested and time-consuming, converting a 20-minute journey into almost an hour.