Parking lots outside Makkah ease congestion

Parking lots outside Makkah ease congestion
Updated 02 August 2013

Parking lots outside Makkah ease congestion

Parking lots outside Makkah ease congestion

Elaborate parking arrangements have been made for pilgrims and visitors arriving in Makkah from different parts of the Kingdom and their transportation needs taken care of to reach the Grand Mosque from the outskirts of the holy city.
Vehicles with passengers wearing ihram (the garments pilgrims wear when performing Umrah or Haj) are not allowed to enter the holy city by traffic police stationed at all entry points. Exclusive parking areas have been allocated on various highways on the outskirts of Makkah, which together can accommodate up to 350,000 vehicles.
Pilgrims and visitors are diverted and guided to these parking facilities in order to reduce traffic congestion in the Haram area. Vehicles arriving from Jeddah are diverted to the Haj parking area at Shumaisy on the Jeddah-Makkah Highway, while those coming from Riyadh and Dammam park their cars at Hada and Sharaya. For those coming from south of the Kingdom, parking is along Al-Leeth Road. In addition, there are parking facilities at Kudai, Al-Omraha and Al-Aziziyah.
All of these parking areas have been asphalted and elaborate arrangements made for pilgrims and visitors to commute from these places to the Haram. Four leading private bus transport companies will operate during Haj. They will be in operation aside from SAPTCO, which currently operates 1,100 buses from these parking lots to Haram at a nominal charge of SR5 one way.
All buses drop commuters at Ajayad Street opposite the Haram and pilgrims walk to Gate No. 1 or King Abdulaziz Gate.
On the return journey, buses drop commuters at a junction in Aziziyah area from where they board their buses, which take them to their respective parking areas.
Though the commuting time from the parking areas to the Haram is considerably high for visitors from Jeddah, it is hassle free. Vehicles parked in unauthorized areas or main streets are impounded and kept in different locations in the city.
Police, who also ensure that roads are clear, monitor vehicles entering the parking space.
Authorities expect to transport seven million passengers from the parking areas to the Haram in the last six days of Ramadan.