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Smart buses coming to Saudi Arabia's Makkah region soon

More than 500 environment-friendly buses serving pilgrims and residents will be completed for Makkah in 2019

Smart buses are coming to Saudi Arabia's Makkah Region in 2020 [representational image].
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Smart buses are coming to Saudi Arabia's Makkah Region in 2020 [representational image].

Saudi Arabia's Makkah Region Development Authority is nearing the manufacturing completion of smart buses for the city’s public transport network system, which will serve residents and Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.

Completion is due by the end of 2019, with the Euro 4 buses due to commence operations early in 2020.

The contract to supply and manufacture the buses, worth $853.2m (SAR3.2bn), was sponsored by HRH Prince Khalid Al Faisal, advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Emir of Makkah Region, and chairman of Makkah Region Development Authority.

Saudi Arabian contractor Nesma and Spain’s TNC worked on the project, which includes the supply of the buses, as well as their operations and maintenance for 10 years.

Phase 1 of the project will see 400 smart buses operated in Makkah, including 240 units with 40-seat capacity, and 160 articulated buses fitted with 60 seats.

Among the ‘smart’ services installed in the buses are driver navigation systems, payment collection units, services for disabled travellers, Wi-Fi, and automated AV systems.

Also installed in the buses are security and surveillance systems, including internal and external cameras, and external electronic screens showcasing bus routes.

Eng Jalal bin Abdul Jalil Kaaki, spokesperson for the Makkah authority, said inspection work implemented for the buses covered the rust-resistance of the chassis’ welding and cladding; and examinations of the structural coating, electrical wiring, cables, and internal track tubes.

Final tests for the buses will include testing of water leaks, fuel efficiency, and intelligence transport equipment.

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