Posted by: sean | February 3, 2010

Métro de Beyrouth

By David Hury and Hassan Choubassi

One of the things that I hate the most about Beirut these days is the traffic. I know it’s trite to complain about traffic, but it’s become so bad here that it comes close to ruining the city for me. I try not to leave the house during rush hour if I can help it, which is difficult because rush hour has, for all intents and purposes, become between 7:30 and 12:00 in the morning and from 2:00 to 7:00 in the evening. The only time I don’t mind driving around the city is on Sundays.

I’ve pretty much given up on any improvements in the issue, from better enforcement of traffic laws to, god forbid, a functioning public transportation system. My motorcycle has got some issues right now, and there’s a ban on motorcycles after 6:00 PM in the city anyway, so I’ve been stuck riding in shared cabs, or services, as they’re called.

That said, Elias has put up a post on ideas about public transportation, mostly ferries and railways, which I’d love to see but for which I won’t be holding my breath any time soon. In all fairness, though, I complained in the comments of that post that I’d like to see a bus schedule and map, and I have since come across an incomplete (and likely inaccurate) version of the former. Line 2, which I sometimes take when I’m not in a hurry (it takes between an hour and an hour and a half to get from Hamra to Achrafieh), is not on the schedule. It would be nice to see a map of the actual routes (and have those routes followed by the drivers, who sometimes deviate from the route if they feel like they can save some time) like this, or even like this.

In the meantime, though, we’ll just have to content ourselves with fantasizing about the metro route we’d take to work on the map for Beirut’s non-existent subway (click to enlarge) or talking about the lack of transport on Facebook.



  1. thx for pointing out that FB group. I joined half an hour ago. good stuff.

  2. Yeah, when I saw it a few months ago, I sat daydreaming about haw awesome it would be to get on at Hikmeh, change at Charles Helou and arrive at Bliss for work. Although I’d make at least a couple of lines arrive all the way to the corniche, if I were designing it…

  3. Bring back the trams! Until a few years ago, I remember still seeing some of the tram rails around.

  4. reading the comments in Qifa Nabki blog i saw your post on the metro, so if you don’t mind I copy pasted my comment here:

    I’ve lived the transformation of Athens before and after the olympics specificaly through the construction of its metro… its true that it took so long to built it (that’s the greek way) but with only two additional lines to one already existent, it was enough to change the city radically… and shape a new attitude of the car addicted Athenians.

    It didn’t solve all problems but what happened as an immediate consequence more Athenians started using the metro and the metro continued its expansion…

    all efforts and solutions are needed for a modern beirut: trains, trams, ferries, buses… but on long term bases only metro can bring citizens to “educate” themselves into a new way to live the urban expirience and ferries to percieve landscape and identity in different way.

    N.B.: one of the reasons of delays of the metro in athens were the archelogical discoveries. Just immagine what would that perspective mean for a city like beirut?

    Palermo february 2010

  5. Nona: Yeah, there are still some old tracks in Geitawi.

    George: Yeah, besides corruption and incompetence, I often think that digging in Beirut would be problematic because of all of the possible ruins to be unearthed. But then again, all of the new towers are dug really deep, and that hasn’t stopped anyone so far!

  6. Trains, trams, ferries, buses… and bikes!

  7. might be of interest

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