(MENAFN - Arab News) Jeddawis are a peeved lot nowadays, with traffic snarls becoming unmanageable even in highways with both government (SAPTCO) and private public transport buses (Hafla) posing hazard and causing congestion by stopping in places which are not designated for picking up or dropping passengers.
Motorists have been venting their ire against buses, particularly private buses, stopping on roads according to their whims and fancies.
"These buses are supposed to pick up and drop passengers along the service lanes, but alarmingly, most of them make abrupt stops while speeding on main roads to pick up or drop passengers, creating a situation which can lead to an accident. Bus passengers who wait on service lanes are also forced to rush to board the bus on the main road putting their lives in danger," said Ahmed Malik.
Another motorist, Abdul Jabar, said: "I was driving on Khalideya Street when a Saptco bus in front suddenly stopped to pick up a passenger without switching on the indicator. I had to slam my brakes really hard to avoid bumping into the bus, which stopped at a place not designated as a bus stop. Drivers of the smaller private buses get into competition and drive at tremendous speeds to overtake each other to pick up passengers."
Asad Khan, another motorist, pointing out that bus services in Jeddah were mostly done by lower income groups that cannot afford a car or taxi, said bus services should be made efficient and timely so the passengers don't suffer. "It is also very important to place or indicate bus stops, so that other users of the roads know where the buses will stop to avoid mishaps," he said, adding that there are no such sign boards or listing of timing schedules.
A passenger complained that sometimes Saptco buses don't stop at the designated bus stops, despite the long wait endured by passengers, and sometimes they don't turn up.
Statistics available with the General Directorate of Traffic reveals that the Kingdom records 23 deaths per 100,000 people, with an average of 19.1 percent road fatalities occurring daily.