ADA lists Riyadh Metro benefits for residents

Updated 02 October 2014

ADA lists Riyadh Metro benefits for residents

The Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA) unveiled a host of new benefits of the Riyadh metro to the capital city’s residents, in addition to what had earlier been announced.
“There are 5.7 million residents in Riyadh,” an ADA spokesman said. “This population is expected to reach 8.3 million by 2030.”
He said that the project will render speedy and economical transportation services by 2016, with the new bus network, and in 2018 with the commissioning of the metro system.
It has been earlier reported that the Riyadh metro would ease traffic congestion and reduce pollution by cutting the number of vehicles on the city roads.
the whole aim of the project is to provide a better transportation alternative, which is more relaxed, cleaner, efficient and on time, according to the spokesman.
“An employee going to work could drive his car to the nearest station, park it, take the metro and go to work and relaxed on an air-conditioned coach, thanks to 24 park & ride facilities across the city,” he said.
Residents without a car or have problems with their cars can call a metro center for help. The metro would then send a van to fetch residents from their homes. The minivan will also have a room in the back to accommodate a wheelchair if the person ordering a ride has a physical disability, he said.
Any resident who has no access to a bus or metro station within 400 meters from his home can call the Transport Control Center (TCC) and order an eight-person minivan, which will take him to the closest station.
Asked if there’s an extra cost for this, the spokesman said that it’s part of the service of the Riyadh Metro on behalf of the ADA and the local government.
However, fees that may become applicable to the service would be nominal. He added that the project will also ensure a cleaner environment, as metro cars will be electrically-operated, hence minimizing environmental pollution that has exacerbated global warming.
He added that Riyadh metro is also efficient as a means of transportation and time of travel is assured as it arrives at every station according to pre-determined schedule.
“That’s how good and comprehensive the project is. Studies continue to further improve it until operation 48 months from now,” he said. The spokesman added that based on studies which the ADA has undertaken, the project will triple the cost of investment in terms of benefits that will redound to the economy.
For every SR1 spent on Riyadh Metro, he said, SR3 will be generated in terms of savings from direct and indirect costs due to pollution, energy consumption, road accidents, lack of efficiency, and lack of performance.
He said there will be six routes, which will be designated by different colors: Line 1 (blue) is the Olaya-Batha route, line 2 (red) is King Abdullah Road, line 3 (orange) is Madinah Road, line 4 (yellow) is the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) to the airport, line 5 (green) is King Abdulaziz Road and line 6 (purple) is KAFD to Abdulrahman bin Ouf & Sheikh Hassan Bin Hussein Bin Ali Road.


Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province feels very American, says US consul general

US Consul General Rachna Korhonen finds the diwaniya and majlis culture of the Eastern Province fascinating. (Supplied)
Updated 25 February 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province feels very American, says US consul general

  • Saudi hospitality wins the heart of diplomat who considers Kingdom one of her favorite destinations

DAMMAM: The US consul general in Dhahran, Rachna Korhonen, lists the Kingdom as one of her favorite places and is in love with the local culture and traditions.

Working in the Kingdom since 2017, she has been impressed by the tremendous changes taking place in Saudi Arabia under Vision 2030.
Arab News caught up with Korhonen to discuss all things American and Saudi.
“As US Ambassador Abizaid has said, the US-Saudi partnership is more vital than ever, particularly as we confront regional security challenges and work hand-in-hand to achieve shared economic and political objectives.”
This relationship is strong and multifaceted, she said, adding: “We work together every day to promote prosperity and economic development, protect the security of our two countries, and build the people-to-people ties that keep our relationship strong.”
She said that a posting to Saudi Arabia was her first choice for an assignment.
“I did not know at the time that I would be the first woman to serve as the US consul general in Dhahran. I really wanted to learn about energy! I was pretty nervous and somewhat scared, but also excited and enthusiastic. I spent three years in Riyadh and some time in Kuwait and Iraq so I had a pretty good understanding of the region.”
Korhonen speaks highly of the Saudi hospitality and the way people welcomed her.
“I came (to the Kingdom) just before Eid Al-Adha. It is a tradition that the consul general makes Eid calls to visit prominent families. I was lucky enough to meet people from the very first moment I arrived. I have always made an effort to get to meet people at different occasions. Saudis have welcomed me into their homes, shared meals and traditions with me. I really have the best job in the best place at the best time,” she told Arab News.

Saudis have welcomed me into their homes, shared meals and traditions with me.

Rachna Korhonen, US consul general

Korhonen said she finds the diwaniya and majlis culture of the Eastern Province fascinating.
“I enjoy meeting new people and learning about what is happening in the Eastern Province. Diwaniyas are a great place to do that. I also love gahwa (Arabic coffee) and dates,” she said.
Korhonen said the Eastern Province feels very American to her. She thinks this is partly due to the close relationship enjoyed by the countries since the 1930s, which began with Aramco and also because thousands of Saudis from the Eastern Province have studied in the US.
Commenting on the social transformation in the Kingdom under Vision 2030, she said: “I still remember very well the first game I attended in Saudi Arabia. It was a very hot and humid day in August, but I wanted to be in attendance to show support for the Eastern Province teams. There was a big crowd and the energy in the stadium was amazing. At that game, I was the only woman in the family section. Now, it completely feels normal to see entire Saudi families in the stands. I could be anywhere in the world at a sporting event. It’s such a huge change.”
She told Arab News that “there have been no recent changes” in the US visa process, adding: “We have visa appointments most weeks from Sunday to Thursday. We encourage everyone interested in going to the US this summer to start thinking about applying now, since we expect demand will grow as we approach the summer season.
“We continue to look for ways to reduce the amount of time a person spends in our waiting room, the wait for visa appointments (especially for students), and the time it takes for someone to get their passport back with the visa.”
She said her favorite initiative that brings Saudis and Americans together is the International Leadership Program.
“The consulate also works with local Saudi partners to bring American athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists and other experts to the Eastern Province to exchange ideas and explore ways to collaborate. Our EducationUSA office helps Saudi students who are interested in studying in the US learn about US universities, the admission process and how to prepare for their educational experience,” the consul general said.