The SR 62 billion ($16.5 billion) new Makkah public transport system, including a metro with four lines and 88 stations and a fast bus service network, will bring about dramatic improvement in transport of pilgrims and citizens in the city, said Makkah Mayor Osama Al-Bar.
He said the first phase of the project, costing around SR 25.5 billion, would begin by the middle of next year. It will be completed in three years.
There will be underground lines in areas surrounding the Grand Mosque until the third ring road, while the lines beyond that region will be built on suspended bridges, he said.
The first phase includes construction of a 30-km line from Um Al-Qura University in Abidiya to Sayeda Aisha Mosque.
Al-Balad Al-Ameen, a company owned by the Makkah Mayoralty, conducted a technical study on the metro, which will be implemented by Makkah Railway Company.
Systra, a French consultancy, and BW Engineers from Germany are also involved in the project.
The bus service will be integrated with the metro system, Al-Bar said, adding that the speedy bus service would link various parts of the city, covering 60 km with 60 stations.
There will be a local bus service to areas not covered by the metro and speed bus network.
The local buses will cover 65 km between the Grand Mosque and surrounding residential districts.
In addition, there will be feeder bus services for the metro system. He said the public transport scheme is to be completed in 10 years in three phases.
A consultancy service contract will be signed with a British company for project management.
The governor has set up a 11-member committee, chaired by Deputy Gov. Abdul Aziz Al-Khodairy, to monitor the project. Al-Bar also disclosed plans to implement a project to link the Mashair Railway with Makkah in Shesha and the Haramain Railway station in Rusaifa.