“Darbast?” If you wish the taxi driver take you directly to the destination, do not forget this magic word. Darbast litterally means door-closed. The concept is you want this taxi for yourself and are not willing to share with other people. If you do not specify this, the taxi driver will go on his route and pick up other passengers.
“Man ro bebar be khiyaban-e Azadi.” [ Take me to Azadi street.] You tell him the address.
Taking a ‘Darbast‘ cab in Iran is an art of its own that you will only master it by practice. The trick is to stand on the side of the road that the traffic is flowing toward the destination you want to go, raise your right hand and say “Taxi?” The cars with rolled down windows are often the cabs. But if you are taking a ‘Darbast‘ taxi, for your own safety, try with the yellow, green or orange cars with orange plates or the cars that have somehow a sign of registered cabs on the body of the cars.
Before taking to the taxi, you better haggle for the price.
“Taa [location] cheghadr mishe?” [How much does it cost to get to..?]
Iran is the land of hard haggling and if you mastered it enough through shopping, it will be much easier for you to get a down good price on the cab too. If the taxi driver is interested to take you, he will slow down to negotiate.
Here you can find average fares of taxi in different Iranian cities. Due to relatively low fuel prices, the fare is much cheaper than many countries in the world. Some Taxi drivers are “Ahl-e Del” [the followers of the heart] and take it easy in bargain. Some others are tough negotietors. After agreement on the price, it’s time to get into the taxi:
“Lotfan mano bebar anja!” [Take me there, please!]
Taxis which have taximeter, that which you’ve called through the agencies like 133 or the hotel arranged for you are absolutely private & price is fixed. This type of cars have also female-only cabs for those women who wish to go around with a female driver. However several times in Tehran, i got into an ordinary shared taxi which had a woman as the driver and it is absolutely normal.
What if you want to take a shared taxi? That would not be a convenient option in Beijing but in Tehran and most other Iranian cities, shared taxi is quite convenient and cheap, because they are widespread and carry several passengers at a time. But for taking such a shared taxi, you will have to know the directions.
“Chetor beravam be in address?” [How do I get to this address?]
“Mishe rooye naghshe neshoon bedi?” [ May you show me on the map?]
Iranians are very helpful for giving directions. They often help the questioners. So do not hesitate to ask. The only problem remains the language barrier which you can resolve it to some extent which knowing some basic directions and a map:
They may say “Raast” [ Right ] , “ Chap” [ Left]
give you the directions of “Shargh” [East], “Gharb” [West], “Shomal” [North], “Jonoub” [South]
Based on the directions, your destinations, and your current position on the map, you will understand how and where to get a shared taxi. Better to tell the taxi driver his final destination and if it is close to yours:
“Man be [Location] miravam. Masir-e shoma kojast?” [I go to … What is your destination?]
You may have to get out of the car after each “Chahar raah” [Cross-Road] or else, in big cities like Tehran, many shared taxis have specific stations. For example for “Seyyed Khandan” bridge, there are cars available at station in “Haft-e Tir” square. Or at Vanak square there are cars available at station for various places and main squares on East, West, North and South.
If you are in the middle of no way, the system is similar to “Darbast”: Just stay on the side of the road that the traffic is flowing toward your interested direction, raise your right hand and wait for a cab to slow down. But this time do not say the magic word.
* Related post: A guide to Persian: To Greet and Introduce