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4,000 cops mobilized to assist traffic flow

Maj Gen Suleiman Al-Ajlan

Maj Gen Suleiman Al-Ajlan

MAKKAH: Over 4,000 traffic policemen have been mobilized by the Makkah Traffic Department to implement its Ramadan plan, according to the authority’s director general.

“There is a move to reinforce the traffic police force with more members and equipment in view of the heavy rush of pilgrims over the coming days of the fasting month. The department has been supplied with an additional 30 motorcycles and 80 pieces of equipment to enable its officers and policemen to extend the best possible services to worshippers around the clock,” Maj. Gen. Suleiman Al-Ajlan told Arab News.

Al-Ajlan said the Makkah metro would ease traffic congestion in the holy city by taking a large number of vehicles off the roads.

“The ongoing ring road projects will also contribute substantially to reducing traffic jams and facilitating a smooth flow of vehicles. We have asked the concerned authorities to complete ring road projects as early as possible,” he said, adding that the third ring road that links Madinah Road from Taneem via Jumoum with Briman Bridge in Jeddah is expected to be completed before the coming Haj.

Referring to arrangements to ease traffic congestion during Ramadan, he said the plan involving the operation of a shuttle bus service to carry Umrah pilgrims and visitors to the Grand Mosque from designated parking areas in the city has been implemented since the beginning of Ramadan.

He urged the media to publish detailed reports about the routes so that worshippers could take advantage of the service.

“There are seven routes for the shuttle service. These include those along King Abdul Aziz Road starting from the Ajyad Square near the Haram and Souq Al-Sagheer tunnel toward Aziziyah until Rabwat Al-Hadarim; Maskhouta tunnel to Ajyad; Bab Ali Square until Mohbisul Jinn and then up to Sharaie; Gazza station to the eastern side of the Haram; and Kuday station to King Abdulaziz tunnel,” he said.

Al-Ajlan said the shuttle service has facilitated the quick movement of worshippers between the Grand Mosque and the districts away from the central Haram area. He denied reports that the service was causing traffic jams in the immediate surroundings of the bus stations.

“The buses have been directed to leave the station premises immediately after completion of their operation,” he said.

Al-Ajlan also said small vehicles are not allowed into the central Haram area during the peak Ramadan season.

While speaking to Arab News, Al-Ajlan was interrupted by one visitor to the Grand Mosque asking him to introduce a special facility for the elderly and people with special needs when boarding and alighting off shuttle buses. The traffic chief welcomed the proposal with a smile and assured him that the proposal would be presented soon to the concerned authorities.

Source: Arab News