(MENAFN - Arab News) Public transport in any city is the symbol of its advancement and progress. Therefore, people in their gatherings these days have a single topic: Public transport system in Riyadh which was recently approved by the Council of Ministers.
The Council decided that the project be implemented in four years. Some residents, however, questioned if the time was enough for the execution of such a mega project in a big city with crowded streets.
A few days ago, at a function held in honor of Riyadh Gov. Prince Sattam, who is also the chairman of the high committee supervising the implementation of the project, I wanted to ask him regarding the execution of the project, but in an indirect way. I said: May Allah help you. You have been asked (by the Council of Ministers) to submit a report about the progress of work in the project every three months. In his direct and candid style, the prince said: I am ready to submit a report everyday so that the project is executed on time. He continued: "This will be done by the Grace of Allah particularly that the studies and the blueprints are ready with the Supreme Authority for the Development of Riyadh." This answer, from a man who is known for his accomplishments, is enough to allay doubts of some people that the project, similar to other mega projects, might be delayed because of bureaucracy and red tape of government departments though we have enough resources to complete any project at its assigned time.
Going back to the public transport project, I would like to say that it would be suitable if the project starts with the part concerning buses because it is less complicated. Moreover the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) is ready to re-operate the bus stops scattered all over the city. It is also ready to re-run its fleet of buses according to schedules as it has been the practice in all cosmopolitan cities. Another benefit of starting the project with buses is that all the old and smoke-emitting cars will disappear from the streets of Riyadh. These old vehicles are not only defacing the beauty of our city but also hindering the smooth flow of traffic. Strict regulations should be put in place to determine the models of car that should be allowed to ply the streets and hefty fines should be imposed on cars of older models.
As for trains, I have no doubt that the international companies that established tracks in the mountains of Europe and were able to overcome the problem of overcrowdedness in Cairo would not fail to come up with the best solutions in Riyadh whether the trains are above or under the ground. The culture of the Saudi people is, however, not encouraging when it comes to using underground transport. Saudis prefer to go to the shopping centers above ground. They prefer spiral roads to the cold parking lots underground.
Dear readers if you close your eyes and imagine Riyadh after four or five years, you will see wonders. The well-planned and big city is liable to more progress and development. On my part, I see Riyadh with all its big projects completed. I can see a city without bumps. I can also see contractors being obliged to surround their projects with strong fences as is the case in big international cities. The contractors will also be asked to re-asphalt the roads which they dig for their projects so that there are no bumps to damage our cars and destroy our ribs sometimes.
Going back to the public transport project, I would like to say that it would be suitable if the project started with the part concerning buses because it is less complicated. Moreover the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) is ready to re-operate the bus stops scattered all over the city.