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Driving and Public Transport

Oman - Driving and Public Transport

Oman only has a limited system of public transport which means that it is often a necessity to have a car. Given the climate, an air-conditioned car is a must and many people opt for a four-wheel drive to cope with the roads. Foreign workers who are employed by large international companies may be able to arrange the use of a company vehicle or their employer can help them with a loan so that they may purchase their own.

There is a wide choice of cars in Oman and purchasers can choose from American, European or Japanese vehicles. In order to purchase a car, it is necessary to have a drivers licence. It is possible to use the licence you obtained in your home country but only for a period of a few months. It will be necessary to obtain an Omani driving licence. This can be applied for if you hold a licence from one of a number of selected countries without taking any further tests.

The quality of the roads is fairly decent in the larger urban areas, although once away from the main parts of the town most are of poor quality. The capital does have many tarmac roads and the highways are also of a good standard.

Importing a vehicle from abroad is not necessary and not cost effective as it will work out cheaper in the long run to purchase a new vehicle once you are in the country. Import duties can be as much as 7% of the cost of the vehicle and this does not include the cost of shipping. Most dealerships will offer a discount if you are paying in cash.

There are many service garages in the country although the quality of the service can vary. Once you find a mechanic you like and trust it is a good idea to stick with him. The cost of fuelling a car can work out much cheaper than in Europe, although not all fuels will be available at all service stations, particularly in more rural areas.

Vehicles drive on the right hand side of the road in Oman and have steering on the left. It is not permitted to bring vehicle into the country that has steering on the right. When registering a vehicle you must have valid insurance and expats are strongly advised not to operate any car without it. Insurance is easily arranged when you arrive in the country and some dealerships may be able to arrange it on your behalf. An annual road tax is also payable.

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