Forty years ago the population of Riyadh was just 100,000. Now it is approaching 6 million. A city of phenomenal growth, an expanding economy and an ever changing skyline it is putting a new public transport system at the heart of its future development. Not only will the currently under-construction network aim to support this growing population but also ease the problem of pollution and congestion on the city’s streets. Construction of the Riyadh metro started in April 2014 and on completion by 2019 the 178km long, six line driverless metro network and 85km bus network will be the backbone of the city's public transport system. This mega-project is the largest such project under way in the Middle East and arguably even the world.
The Metro Project comprises the following six lines:
- Line 1 (Blue Line) runs in the North-South direction and extends over a length of approximately 38 km (24 mi) and features 22 stations, in addition to 4 transfer stations with Lines 2, 3, 5, and 4&6.
- Line 2 (Red Line) runs in the East-West direction and extends over a length of about 25.3 km (15.7 mi) and features 13 stations, in addition to 3 transfer stations with Lines 1, 5 and 6.
- Line 3 (Orange Line) runs in the East-West direction and extends approximately 40.7 km (25.3 mi) and it features 20 stations, in addition to 2 transfer stations with Lines 1 and 6.
- Line 4 (Yellow Line) reaches to King Khalid International Airport from King Abdullah Financial District, mainly on a mix of elevated and at-grade alignment. The length of the line is around 29.6 km (18.4 mi) and it features 8 stations (3 common with Line 6), in addition to 1 transfer station with Lines 1 and 6.
- Line 5 (Green Line) runs underground in a bored tunnel along King Abdulaziz Street, between King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre and the Riyadh Airbase, before connecting with King Abdullah Road. The length of the line is about 12.9 km (8.0 mi) and it features 10 stations, in addition to 2 transfer stations with Lines 1 and 2.
- Line 6 (Purple Line) follows a half-ring starting at King Abdullah Financial District. The length of the line is approximately 29.9 km (18.6 mi) and it features 8 stations (3 common with Line 4), in addition to 3 transfer stations with Lines 1, 2 and 3.
A Bechtel-led consortium won a contract worth some $10 billion to design and build Lines One and Two of the Riyadh Metro. The BACS consortium, which includes Almabani General Contractors, Consolidated Contractors Company, and Siemens, is responsible for the design, construction, train cars, and signalling―as well as electrification and integration of the new lines to the rest of the system. The first tunnelling by Bechtel began in May 2015.
Alstom will provide the city of Riyadh with its fully integrated metro solution that combines company’s state-of-the-art metro sub-systems. It includes the rolling stock (69 Metropolis trains), Urbalis signalling, the energy recovery system, HESOP, as well as the fast track laying technology, Appitrack, – a technology that installs tracks three times faster than traditional methods.
Indra have been awarded the €266m contract to provide fare collection and access control systems for the network beating nine other bids which was signed in January. They will provide the entire pricing management system, including financial management software and operator clearing house. A single contactless smart card will be valid across all metro and bus services.
The new service will also enable lower-income individuals, many perhaps attracted to Riyadh to work on the construction of the network itself to travel quicker and cheaper around the city. 39% of residents in Riyadh are non-Saudi with the the greatest number of the expatriates living and working in the city are from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Philippines. The metro network may also serve an additional purpose, giving women greater mobility – as Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that forbids women from driving. The metro network will feature women-only and family carriages.
For more on the project visit the High Commission for Development of Arriyadh website
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