ALKHOBAR: SULTAN AL-SUGHAIR
Published — Tuesday 25 February 2014
Last update 28 February 2014 5:57 am
The traffic police have not been able to reduce the congestion on the King Fahd Causeway linking Saudi Arabia with Bahrain during holidays and other peak times, a source in the department said Monday.
The source said the traffic department was genuinely concerned about the situation. It has raised the issue with other government agencies.
"Many proposals and suggestions were made to higher authorities to find a radical solution to this problem. If they are approved, they will play a significant role in solving this problem," he said.
Over 239 million commuters have used the causeway since it was opened in 1986 until the end of 2012. In 2012, over 18 million people used the bridge.
He said there is usually traffic congestion on the bridge from about 2 p.m. until 10 p.m.
"During holidays, special events or Eid, the traffic department gets additional police cars to regulate the movement of vehicles on the causeway."
During these peak times, traffic officers issue around 90 fines a day, including 20 for parking violations.
He said that the traffic police also have a problem with illegal taxi drivers transporting people between the two countries. Officers arrest on average six people a day for these violations.
He said the traffic fines issued to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) citizens are sent to their countries where they have to pay them. An electronic system for fines would soon link all GCC countries, which would help streamline this process, he said.
Arab News reported last month that the Saudi Ministry of Interior is considering a joint border control system with Bahrain to reduce congestion on the causeway. This would entail a traveler stopping only once when entering or exiting both countries.
This came in the wake of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) accusing the Passport Department and the Eastern Province traffic authority of not having sufficient personnel on the bridge to prevent bottlenecks. The traffic police had rejected the accusations and blamed the Passport Department for the delays.
Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya, director general of the Passport Department, said a ministerial team has been studying procedures between the United Arab Emirates and Oman that eased commuting by road between the two countries.