I guess in light of recent events no price is high enough when it comes to safety and I think the drivers do have a justified point or two. Anyways, there Welcome to Amman…
Taxi fares between Beirut and Amman have tripled as thousands of citizens and tourists scramble to flee Lebanon since Israel launched its offensive in the country one week ago. Owners of taxi offices at the Abdali Bus Terminal told The Jordan Times that the fare per passenger jumped to JD75-JD100 ($106-$141), clinic compared with the pre-conflict price of JD25 ($35).
Ã¢??People want to leave Lebanon no matter how much they pay,Ã¢?Â said a taxi driver who regularly runs the route.
The driver, who preferred anonymity, said he leaves Amman early everyday with an empty car, passes through Damascus, and enters Lebanon via mountainous rural roads in the north of the country.
Ã¢??When I arrive in Beirut, I find thousands of people looking for taxis Ã¢?? any vehicle to get them out of Lebanon,Ã¢?Â he told The Jordan Times.
When he tells potential passengers the fare to Amman is JD100 per person, Ã¢??some immediately agree, others tell me to reduce the fare, while many others tell me take as much as you want but take us out of Lebanon,Ã¢?Â said the young driver.
Taxi office owners insist that a hike in fares under these circumstances is justified.
Ã¢??We are not taking advantage of the circumstances in Lebanon. There are many reasons that the fares went through the roof,Ã¢?Â one owner told The Jordan Times. Others echoed his sentiments.
Ã¢??First of all, the drivers risk their lives shuttling people from Beirut to Amman because the Israeli raids are everywhere. They deliberately attack bridges and roads,Ã¢?Â another owner said.
Also, because the main highways between Beirut and Damascus were destroyed, the drivers must pass over narrow bumpy dirt roads through the mountains, which means a higher physical toll on the car, both men agreed.
A third owner attributed the fare increase to the length of the trip. Before the roads were damaged, the journey between Beirut and Amman would take 4 to 6 hours; because of the current congestion of cars and the need to use back-roads, it now takes more than 14 hours on average, he told The Jordan Times.
In addition, drivers must go slower at night when they turn off their headlights to avoid drawing the attention of Israeli aircraft.
The majority of passengers are Lebanese citizens or tourists from Gulf countries, according to the drivers interviewed. [Jordan Times]