Causeway ‘chaos’ at weekend

Updated 03 February 2015

Causeway ‘chaos’ at weekend

Commuters who crossed the King Fahd Causeway at the weekend have accused the causeway authority of failing to provide sufficient staff to cope with the volume of traffic.
A record 587,213 people crossed the causeway at the weekend, the highest number this year. The Eastern Province Passport Department has rejected the claims, saying congestion is normal on holidays and weekends.
Commuters told Arab News that there were blockages on both the Bahraini and Saudi sides of the bridge. Some claimed that several lanes were closed at the weekend, with the promised expansion not speeding up passport procedures.
Commuter Lama Al-Gosaibi said: “There are regular traffic jams on the King Fahd Causeway. There are too few counters, and those open are only staffed by a single officer. You can also often see them chatting to each other or on their mobiles. There are many cabins closed for no apparent reason.”
Ali Al-Otaibi shared this view. “I have been traveling across the King Fahd Causeway to Bahrain almost daily. There is overcrowding regularly, particularly at peak times. In addition, there are some checkpoints without any officers.”
Muhammad Shaaban said that passport and customs procedures have not changed for years despite claims from the authority that it had introduced new measures to reduce congestion and speed up processing of travel documents, including deploying more staff.
Saad Al-Dosari accused officials at the causeway of failing to solve problems of overcrowding, which have resulted in the slow processing of procedures for travelers.
Col. Muala Al-Otaibi, spokesman of the Eastern Province Passport Department, has rejected claims that there are insufficient staff members on the bridge. Traffic jams are normal during vacations and on weekends, he said.
“The Passport Department has a plan in place to deal with extra commuters, including officers prevented from taking leave, additional staff and shifts, and more lanes and counters opened. This is to ensure processing is done quickly and accurately without prejudicing security,” Al-Otaibi said.


GEA offers family festival celebrating naturalist Al-Jahiz

Updated 7 min 54 sec ago

GEA offers family festival celebrating naturalist Al-Jahiz

  • Al-Jahiz Square is part of the Taif Season festivals and events
  • The festival offers an interactive exhibition about Kitab-Al-Hayawan (Book of The Animals) written by Al-Jahiz

JEDDAH: The Saudi General Entertainment Authority has organized a family festival as part of the Taif Season.

The festival titled “Al-Jahiz Square” adopts a historic theme at the iconic Souq Okaz, offering families a chance to embark on a unique literary journey into the biography of Al-Jahiz, the acclaimed 9th Century African-Arab naturalist.

The festival offers an interactive exhibition about Kitab-Al-Hayawan (Book of The Animals) written by Al-Jahiz.

The festival will be running until the Aug. 31.