Skip to content

Getting Around Amman

By Dominique Bonessi

For a city with few public areas for walking, transportation can also be difficult.

For me, getting to school everyday is a bit of a challenge.  The university is about a 15 minute drive from my home.  I leave my house and walk to the roundabout about a block away.  I then pay about 2 to 3 JD [dinar]--depending on traffic--to a taxi to get to school.  Hopping in a taxi here you give the taxi a well-known landmark and most likely he just knows where it is.  For example, going to the north gate of the University of Jordan, I have to say baba il-shimel fi il-jami3a il-urdunia [north gate of the University of Jordan].

Unfortunately, there are barely any reliable buses that can get me within walking distance to my home.  Buses vary, there are some that are more like big vans that carry many people and go to very specific destination. While others are like more traditional buses in the United States that go to general drop off locations.  However--unlike in the US--buses in Amman run on Arab time meaning ma fish mushkila [no worries], whatever time the driver feels like it.

Not only can getting to school be a bit pricey, but after school when we all want to go to a different part of Amman to a cafe or hang out spot, the taxi prices increase later at night on the way home.  But, there is a silverlining!

Some advice to those wishing to study abroad in Jordan and worried about transportation costs:

1. Splitting a cab with people going to around the same area as you is more affordable and typically I only have to pay 0.50 JD instead of 2 JD.

2. Don't be afraid to figure your way out by walking to your destination.  Although it is not much of a walking city, if you are in an area that isn't as traffic heavy it is fun to walk.

3. For those trying to practice their Arabic, the forced interaction of directing your taxi driver and possibly having a full conversation is always a benefit of taking a taxi. For example, on my way home the other night for an artsy area of Amman, the taxi driver I met was very nice.  He asked me where I was from and told me about his family from Palestine and why he likes Amman so much.