Public transport in Jeddah

Updated 10 February 2017
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Public transport in Jeddah

Jeddah badly needs a public transport system that can ferry people to distant places in the city. After all, Saudi Vision 2030 seeks self-reliance and better use of resources. Prices of goods and services are rising, and more people are self-managing their businesses due to large-scale deportations of expatriates who provided cheap labor.
It is getting more expensive to travel by limousine; a one-way journey used to cost up to SR15 ($4), but now customers can expect to pay SR20-25. Teachers and students are the worst affected.
Hiring a taxi or small van can incur monthly costs of up to SR600 per person, which is atrocious. Most drivers demand to be paid at the start of the month, with weekends off. So if there are proctoring duties at the weekend, one needs to hire a regular taxi, which adds to the cost.
Jeddah is very popular among Saudis and expatriates. It has a constant flux of religious tourists, guest workers and Saudi citizens who come here to work. Compared to other cities in the Kingdom, Jeddah is cheaper in terms of housing and consumer items. Considering the large number of people on the go, it is very strange that the authorities have not looked into this most important of issues.
There should be public transport in the city, such as buses and small vans that can carry a number of people at one time on fixed routes, just like elsewhere all over the world. Such transport is cheaper and more convenient, especially for those who need to commute every day. In terms of cultural considerations, there can be an opaque partition separating men from women and children.
With burgeoning costs of living, taxes on remittances and rising residency fees, a smooth public transport system is needed, and should be among the government’s top priorities in future city planning.


Cartoon in bad taste

Updated 07 August 2017
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Cartoon in bad taste

I wish to use my “right of reply” to complain about the unfortunate caricature that appeared on Aug. 5, 2017, in your well-known newspaper. The cartoon represents President Nicolas Maduro sitting on a military tank and a hand coming out of the tank’s cannon writing on a book titled “New Constitution.” Such a caricature is offensive to my country.
What the caricature seems to imply is that President Maduro wants to rewrite a new constitution with the power of arms. This is totally false. It is immoral to give your readers such a forged image of Venezuela and its constitutionally- and democratically-elected government.
The revision of our constitution, which is among the best in the world, is mainly to reinforce it and make it more adaptable to the new times. It is not an imposition of our president; it has been backed by more than 8 million Venezuelans and has the objective of re-establishing the peace process that has been trampled by a violent opposition backed by interested foreign countries that pretend to give orders to our sovereign populace.
I fail to understand why some international media report fake news about my country, with the purpose of undermining our sovereignty, and the people of Venezuela’s absolute right to decide, in a free and independent manner, how it wants to conduct its internal affairs.
I invite your newspaper to inform about our country with the truth and the same respect that we, in Venezuela, treat to our brothers of Saudi Arabia.

Joseba Achutegui
Ambassador of Venezuela
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia