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Jeddah visitors rely on privately driven cars for transportation
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 01 - 04 - 2013


Ibrahim Shehab
Okaz/Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH — Visitors at King Abdulazizi International Airport (KAIA) are relying on private cars to transport them to their destinations.
Mishari Al-Awad who arrived from Riyadh to perform Umrah refused a limousine fare of SR 300 to take him to Makkah.
He said that it was illogical that he paid SR 280 for a plane ticket from Riyadh to Jeddah, and now has to pay SR 300 for a limousine fare to Makkah.
He said that he will wait for drivers of private cars who compete with limousines but for much lower fares.
This competition has created many quarrels between private cars drivers and limousine drivers.
Many visitors who arrive at KAIA are questioning the high fares of limousines, and of the body responsible for setting these fares.
They asked concerned authorities to put an end to this price gouging.
Many limousine drivers have refused to talk about the fares, but said that it was set by the Ministry of Transportation.
However, varying fares between limousines indicate otherwise. A number of private car drivers and limousines drivers have asked Okaz / Saudi Gazette to mind their own business.
Al-Awad said that a trip to Hera'a street cost SR50, while to the city it is SR75. If the passenger stops to look for a service apartment, he has to pay SR10 for each stop. He said that he usually coordinates with a relative to pick him up from the airport.
Mohammad Al-Hakami arrived from Jizan with his family, and said that he has to wait a long time for transportation. He said that he has to budget for transportation costs to and from KAIA. He added that some private cars drivers are no different from limousine drivers. He believes that installing meters in limousines will solve the problem.
At the foreign airlines northern arrival lounge, the situation is even worse. A driver asked for SR 150 for a trip from the airport to Al-Salamah neighborhood. There are no private cars available for transportation at the north terminal, as the traffic police is monitoring the situation. Any violator will be fined, and his car confiscated.
A visitor from the UAE was waiting for transportation with his family. He said that this was his second visit to the Kingdom, and during his first visit, he paid SR 800 for transportation to Makkah.
Mohammad Al-Zahrani said that fares are not regulated but are subject to whim, and some take advantage of holidays to increase their fares.
A source in Makkah Province Roads Department said that the department had set fares a long time ago.
The situation is different now, he added, and limousines are supposed to have meters installed. He said that there are committees to monitor fares, and the responsibility is shared between the roads department, KAIA, and Makkah Province traffic police.
Media and Public Relation Manager at Jeddah Traffic Police, Lt. Col. Zaid Al-Hamzi said that the traffic police is not concerned with monitoring limousines fares.
Its duty is only to ensure the smooth flow of traffic. He said that only licensed limousines are allowed to transport passengers from the airport to other destinations. Private cars are allowed to park for 15 minutes only, to load and unload luggage and passengers.
Private cars that are used to transport passengers will be confiscated for 15 days, and will be fined SR 300.
A source in the Fares Committee of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce said that the high limousine fare is because of the Saudi limousine drivers who will not accept lower fares.
He added that the concerned body should monitor fares, and ensure that they are applied.
He suggests that a dedicated company should be contracted to care for passengers and their luggage, and drive them to their required destinations.


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