Saudi transport ministry launches Jeddah metro


By Ben Roberts

Saudi Arabia yesterday unveiled plans for a Metro system in Jeddah, just as construction work begins on the equivalent network system in the capital.

The Metro will consist of three lines: one will connect the Old Makkah Road to Sari Road; one will run along Prince Majed Street from King Abdul Aziz International Airport to the site of the old airport, and a third along Palestine Road.

The announcement, made by the Ministry of Transport Abdul Aziz Al-Ouhali, comes a year after the oil-rich state announced a SR21 billion (US $5.6 billion) investment programme for the city’s transport system includes monorails, buses and trams linking Jeddah’s residential districts. The minister said the government would conduct a 15-month review of the country’s transport system.

Details on the upcoming system are currently limited as pages on the Ministry of Transport website are under construction.

Meanwhile construction work began this week on the metro in Riyadh. The light rail system will have 36 stations, with the first phase involving the building of the 25km link between the north and south of the city, with the second phase seeing the construction of a 14km line from east to west.

The project adds to the significant expenditure aimed at transforming the Kingdom’s second city. Dar Al-Arkan Real Estate Development Co, one of the country’s largest developer by market value, revealed last October that it will spend SR7.5 billion on a new residential project in Jeddah over the next five years.

However, construction on the site, which will have more than 10,000 units and leisure and shopping facilities as well as schools, and was due to begin this year, is believed to have not started.