If you would permit ...
In other parts of the Arab world, there is just one, or maybe two or three, ways to request that a driver stop his taxi. In Damascus, there are more than a dozen well-worn expressions, most exceedingly polite. Damascene Arabic is known for its flourishes of politesse, and there is no better place to observe them than in the service taxi.
I take service taxis most days, often several times a day. I’ve kept notes on some of the ways Damascenes request a driver to stop:
*Let us down on the right, if you wish.
*On the right, if you would permit.
*May God grant you health.
*On the right, ballah.
(Ballah roughly translates to, "for God's sake," or, "I implore you." It is a way of saying, "please," while invoking God's name.)
*Let us down on the right, for God's sake, if you please.
*At the corner, zakatak
(Zaka is the almsgiving required by Islam. To say zakatak to the driver means that to stop the taxi and allow me to disembark is a deed akin to giving charity to the poor.)
*At the intersection, if it is possible.
*At this place, if you order it.
*Slow down, mo’allem.
(Moallem means teacher, as well as someone who is a master at his trade.)
*May God grant you success.