A glimpse inside Riyadh Metro’s ‘ride to the future'

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By Ashwag Bandar

THE King Abdulaziz Project for Public Transport in Riyadh recently launched the first exhibition, spread across over 5,000 square meters, to create awareness regarding the significance of public transportation. It was also an opportunity to experience the use of metro for the first time in Saudi Arabia.

Once visitors enter the exhibition, they have to pass by one of the two queues meant to simulate checking-in procedures. There are two queues – one for non-registered and the other for those registered online. The QR code ensures that the visitor is informed via SMS or email.

This process is part of the technology that will be used in the public transportation.

A tour guide walks with each group to the first section. He presents future ticket vending machine with unified ticketing system for buses and metro, which accepts credit cards and online payments via mobile phone. Machines will be distributed around the city, around the 3,000 bus stops and metro stations by the end of 2019.

"A time for change” is the title of the second section, which provides the visitors with information about the current situation of the traffic in Riyadh and an overview of future needs in statistics.

By 2030, Riyadh’s population will grow by up to 30 percent, which means more cars in the streets and longer driving time, overcrowding and pollution.

Currently, an average of 6 million road accidents are reported in the Kingdom every year, and 85 percent of them occur on intercity highways known for high speeds. They cause an average of 17 deaths every day.

The opening of King Abdulaziz Project for Public Transport in Riyadh is expected to save the country more than SR398 million every year in various costs.

The exhibition includes mock-ups for future buses that users can solicit from their locations via mobile app. It also has on display metro stations, locations and designs around Riyadh and line color codes, including main stations: King Abdullah Financial Center, Saudi Governance Center, Olaya station and western and underground stations.

Visitors to the exhibition can also play virtual reality games by moving tablets across a huge map of Riyadh. On the screens, one can watch workers in Riyadh Metro from different locations, due to the live coverage from construction sites.

Visitors can also see closely the map of trains in its total route of 176 km, and models of one of the seven tunnel-boring machines used to dig a tunnel 34 kilometers in length.

Toward the end, the exhibition displays authentic designs of 338 trains, and offers a walk inside the train to see 90 percent of the final design of Riyadh Metro, being described as trains of the future. — Al-Arabiya English


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