235 companies licensed to provide pilgrim services


Saudi Gazette

— The Ministry of Haj and Umrah has licensed 235 companies to provide services to pilgrims and asked the General Syndicate of Cars to improve the transport services to cope with the rising number of visitors to the holy city.

The ministry has also designed a special smartphone app to document the accommodation of pilgrims and established a control center to follow up on its operational plans.

This was announced during a meeting of the Central Haj Committee in Makkah on Monday under the chairmanship of Deputy Emir Prince Abdullah Bin Bandar.

The meeting listened to reports by government and private establishments on their preparations for Haj and Ramadan.

The meeting was told that as many as 1,200 hotels in Makkah with a combined capacity of more than 1 million beds will accommodate the pilgrims.

A total of 134 transport companies will be transporting more than 334,000 pilgrims daily.

More than 4 million Umrah pilgrims have arrived in the Kingdom since the season started early November. It is an increase of 5 percent over their number during the same period last year.

The meeting was also briefed on the progress of work in the restoration of Zamzam well.

It was told that a number of escalators in the Grand Mosque have been replaced with new ones to ensure the safety of pilgrims.

The Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) told the committee that it had prepared six bus stations in the areas around the Grand Mosque to provide transportation to Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan.

The meeting also decided to expand the capacity of the arrival and departure lounges at the Haj Terminal to accommodate the largest number of pilgrims possible.