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Getting Around in Saudi Arabia


Saudi Arabia has quite an extension bus service which connects most cities and towns. The company which runs the service is the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO), and is a public listed company. The buses are comfortable and the fares are reasonable, generally lower than in the US or Europe. Each bus has a special section for women and children. SAPTCO's main stations throughout Saudi Arabia provide a central location where you can find out about the services, buy your ticket, and wait for the departure of your trip. All are equipped with suitable facilities, including a prayer area, and a cafeteria for light refreshments.

There is also a regular SAPTCO (Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company) bus service from the airports to various hotels and the centre of town.

However, it's recommended that reservation (for journeys between Saudi cities and towns) should be booked in advance and should be made through a travel agent. Unfortunately, there is no official bus service within any cities and towns.


The taxi industry is well established in Saudi Arabia. Taxis are more commonly known as limousines or limos. Typically, taxi drivers are mainly expatriates from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Yemen and Egypt. However, there are some Saudi taxi drivers.

The Saudi Ministry of Labour try to Saudize the taxi industry, but postponed it in February 2005, because there was not enough Saudis to replace the expats. Also, many Saudi women do not like to take a taxi, if the driver is Saudi, because they sometimes get harassed.

Taxis are very cheap to use and are convenient because there is no public transport within any cities and towns. Taxis are white and are typically Toyota Corollas. They are public hire and you can just flag one down.

All taxis have meters, but you can negotiate a fee with the driver without using the meter. Two things to be aware when getting a taxi:

Many drivers claim to know where they are going, but once they start driving, they don't have a clue.

Sometimes when you go for a common journey (e.g. from the airport), and arrange a price, the driver might suddenly pile up more customers into the car later.


There is only one railway company and only one railway service in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) is a goverment entiity responsible for railways.The only railway service runs from Dammam to Riyadh, and the journey takes four hours.

Recently, Saudi Arabia has decided to expand the railway network. This includes constructing the Landbridge Project which will connect Jeddah to Dammam, and also the Makkah-Madinah rail link.





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