(MENAFN - Arab News) The Center of Excellence for Haj and Umrah Research at Umm Al-Qura University has recommended the introduction of cable cars linking the Grand Mosque with three areas of the holy city.
The recommendation is part of the center's study on the feasibility of introducing technology such as cable cars to reduce congestion in Makkah during the peak Haj and Umrah seasons.
Adnan Gutub, director of the center, said the study recommended the introduction of six routes to pick up pilgrims from the parking areas in Kudai, Rusaifa and Taneem.
The first is a 2.3-km single cable car route linking Kudai with the Haram, and there would not be any station in between the two destinations. The second cable car system, linking the Haram with the parking area in Rusaifa, would have two routes - the 3.2 km first route (Rusaifa A) with no stations, and the 3.3 km second route (Rusaifa B) with three stations in between Rusaifa and the Grand Mosque.
Adnan Gutub said that there would be three routes linking Taneem with the Grand Mosque. The 5.1 km first route (Taneem A) would have no stations while the 5.1 second route (Taneem B) would have one station at Shuhada parking area whereas the 5.8 km third route (Taneem C), which runs parallel to the Taneem road, would have three stations in between Taneem and the Haram.
Adnan Gutub gave a presentation on the recommendations of the study at a meeting of the Makkah Public Transport Committee held on Tuesday. The committee was formed under direction from Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also chairman of the Higher Commission for Monitoring Pilgrims' Transport, to streamline the transportation of pilgrims in the holy city, especially during the peak Haj and Umrah seasons. The study was prepared by the center following a directive by Prince Khaled to see if introducing suspended transportation technology was a feasible option. The study, carried out in cooperation with the Transport and Crowd Management Center at Toronto University, is still awaiting the go-ahead from the higher authorities.
Addressing the meeting, Gutub said the center mooted the cable car system not as a substitute to existing means of transportation in the holy city but only as a support project.
"The center embarked on this great task in line with the directive of Prince Khaled who is keen to extend the best possible transportation services to pilgrims by making use of all scientific, technical and technological facilities and capabilities," he noted.
The Haj and Umrah Research Institute at Umm Al-Qura University has completed studies to establish a cable car system to transport people to the historic caves of Hira and Al-Thawr in Makkah. Abdul Aziz Saroji, dean of the institute, recently said the plan aims to enable Haj and Umrah pilgrims as well as visitors to the holy city to make safe trips to the caves situated on top of Al-Nour and Al-Thawr mountains. There will be 12 cable car lines linking the mountain valleys with the caves situated on mountaintops, and the planned project is expected to be implemented within two years.