Getting a taxi in Tehran: Darbast
There is not one type of taxi in Tehran; no, in fact, there are several different types of transport all competing for the money in your wallet. Living in Tehran will give you the latest info on how to get a cab.
On-street private taxi (Darbast)
Following on from our insight in getting a cab from the airport, we will now explain something entirely different. Yes, a taxi exists on the streets of Tehran called the darbast meaning ‘closed door.’
What is a darbast taxi?
Darbast taxis come in all shapes and sizes and to be fair nobody knows which is a darbast until the driver leans over and shouts the word at you. Yellow and green taxis, as well as anyone who is attempting to earn a few rials on the side, will pull up to you on the side of the road and shout darbast at you or may just stare you until you say it — confusing we know.
(As you most likely look foreign, you are statistically more likely to get drivers pulling up beside you shouting the darbast.)
Where do they go?
Darbast taxis will go anywhere you want, as long as you explain the street or location you are heading. To hire the darbast cab simply stand on the side of the road and say ‘darbast’ if they don’t say it already and then say your destination. Be warned they are at least 30% more expensive than a regular taxi, if not more.
Agreeing on the price
As this is the most awkward part of the interaction, the driver will usually begin with a price which is at least 40% more expensive than what he will agree. And then you must haggle him down to the price you think is fair — best of luck!
As a foreigner, you must also note that you may be priced extra if you cannot strike up a chat in Persian. But, we may add that even locals get overcharged by the drivers.
If you’re O.K. with the price then jump in and go to your destination!