Kuwait has a well developed road system, but there are no
trains and public transport is limited to buses and taxis.
In the near future a rapid transit system serving
the coastal corridor, with direct access into Kuwait City
using fixed track vehicles or automated buses, may be created.
A proposed GCC-Railway may have terminals in Shuaiba and
Shuwaikh. Future plans also include passenger ferries linking
the City to Faylaka Island, and to mainland Subiya and Bubiyan
Island, and a bridge linking Shuwaikh to Subiya.
Kuwait International Airport is in Farwaniyah, about 16.5km
from the centre of Kuwait City, a fast 20-minute drive.
Operated by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, it
is considered one of the safest airports in the world. It
is the only civilian airport in the country. Aeroplane fuel
(Jet A-1) is provided by Kuwait Aviation Fuelling Company
(KAFCO) and aircraft catering by Kuwait Aviation Services
Company (KASCO). Kuwait Airways Corporation (KAC) has its
operational headquarters at Kuwait International Airport
and hangarage for private aircraft is available through
The airport has two terminals. The old Terminal
One is used for short-haul passenger flights and freight,
and has nearby cargo handling and storage facilities. Just
east of this terminal is Terminal Two, the main passenger
terminal. All long distance flights depart from and arrive
at Terminal Two, which is built in the shape of an aeroplane,
its arrival and departure areas forming the wings of a long
fuselage which contains the aircraft access gates. Passenger
facilities reach international standards and include automatic
baggage handling, TV monitors for flight information, a
bank, post office, restaurant and buffets, hotel reservations
and airline ticketing, shops, a mosque, a transit zone with
duty free area, as well as an express courier centre and
A two-year $39 million project is launched
in September 2000 to expand the country's only international
airport to double its capacity to six million passengers
a year. The project includes car park, shops, airline offices,
restaurants etc. A new terminal is also in the planning
which will be executed on a build, operate and transfer
Getting around Kuwait is easy and quick provided you know
your way, as the whole of the Metropolitan Area is laid
out in a conical grid-like pattern of main roads, feeder
roads and local roads. In addition, most road signs are
in English as well as Arabic, though many streets are not
Vehicle number plates are coloured white on private cars,
blue on government vehicles, reddish orange on commercial
vehicles, and a sort of dun colour on military vehicles.
There are several types of taxis: call taxis, orange cabs,
Call taxis are radio controlled 24-hour cabs which are booked
by telephoning the company's office. Fares, based on distance,
are cheap, a standard KD1 for a trip originating and ending
within the same area. Fares get progressively more expensive
as trips extend across area boundaries. Fares also increase
substantially late at night. The actual fare for a trip
is decided by the driver's controller over the radio, either
when the cab is booked or at the end of the trip. Regular
clients can usually negotiate a discount and credit may
Orange cabs are of two types. The first type
operate from ranks where they pick up several passengers
going to a particular area and then follow set routes. Fares
are 150fils a person inside the City, 250fils each (five
sharing) from the City to Salmiya, and 500fils from the
City to Fahaheel. The orange cabs also operate from outside
the main hotels and the airport, where they can be hired
without sharing. Fares start from about KD1/250, and are
Wanettes (pick-up trucks) with red number plates
are only authorized to transport goods and to carry passengers
The Kuwait Transport Company (KTC) has a monopoly on public
bus services. KTC has over 30 routes in operation and coverage
of the Metropolitan Area is comprehensive.
There are two types of buses, ordinary and
air-conditioned. The minimum fare on an ordinary bus is
150fils, while the cost from the City to Salmiyah is 200fils.
The fare on an air-conditioned bus is 250fils but for certain
short distances it is 150fils. KTC is however introducing
air-conditioned buses on many routes, replacing the ordinary
buses, the fares remaining same as the ordinary buses. Season
tickets, which are economical for regular frequent traveller,
are available from main bus stations.
KTC's buses front seats are always reserved
for women. Route maps are available from the KTC terminal
in Mirgab. KTC also operates international bus services
to several cities in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Special Umrah
tours (to Mecca) are also offered by KTC.
A GCC national may drive a car in Kuwait on his home country
licence. Non-GCC nationals may not drive on a GCC licence.
An expatriate on a visit visa may only drive on an international
driving licence for the period of validity of his visa and
any extension and a licence issued in his home country is
not acceptable. Foreign nationals with residence permits
can only drive on a Kuwaiti licence.
There are plenty of car hire firms in Kuwait. To rent a
car, foreigners on visit visas need an international licence,
and foreign residents must have a Kuwaiti licence.
Hire rates, sometimes a combination of time
and distance with the first 150km a day free. Charges are
based on a 24-hour day and an hourly charge (excess hours)
for late returns is made. Special weekend rates are available.
Insurance maybe included in the hire rates. But those using
an international licence must have their licence validated
through a local insurance company, at a cost of KD9 a month,
the minimum period.
The hire rates shown in the box are based on
current models available from major companies. There are
also plenty of hire firms which hire out three to four year
old small cars for as little as KD3/500 a day, including
insurance, or less than KD100 a month, down to as low as
KD65 a month for six month periods.