Overpriced train tickets



The Haramain Express Train was launched last week by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. The train will cover the 450 km between Makkah and Madinah at a speed of 300 kph, linking five stations: Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, Rabigh and Madinah.

This is the largest electric speed train project in the Middle East and an important addition to the Kingdom’s railway system. However, unfortunately as with the Metro-North train, tickets on the Haramain Express cost about the same as railway tickets in Europe. The nature of our society is that Saudis have large families, which makes train travel for a Saudi family expensive.

It would be cheaper for a family of two or more to rent a car for a whole day in order to travel from Makkah to Madinah. This is especially true when you add in the cost of a taxi for dropping a family off at the departing station and taking them upon arrival to their final destination. Unfortunately, our train stations are not located in the center of the city since they are connected to public transport networks. This is the same case in Europe, with taxi fares adding to the cost of train tickets.

In my case, it would cost me SR 420 to travel in economy class by train with my seven family members from King Abdul Aziz Airport to Makkah, which is about twice the cost of a rented car for one day.

In my opinion, the most essential objective of the Haramain Express Train project is not to generate a profit, but rather to provide a convenient and secure means of travel between the two Holy Mosques. However, as we all know, profit is important at the beginning of any project. Therefore, I recommend that family packages be created to decrease the total cost of travel, and also that special discounts be granted to the elderly, retirees and students.