Over the past years, the number of Mecca residents has increased to 1.54 million and it is expected to further rise to over 2.2 million. The number of pilgrims often exceeds that of residents and it is also expected to rise. The city currently has a limited public transport system to provide mobility services to citizens, pilgrims and visitors. The system relies on bus lines and one metro line (Mashaaer South Line) which serves a limited area of the city. Consequently, a modern public transport system is necessary to meet mobility demands.
Under these circumstances, mobi-lity becomes vital, as authorities realized when approving the Makkah Public Transport Programme (MPTP), a plan for developing an integrated transport system covering all public transport modes. The project includes a metro network of 114 km and 88 stations and a transport network to cover the whole city: express, local and Shuttle Bus system providing connections to the other public transport stations.
The programme includes the construction of the metro network as part of the project with a total cost of SAR 62 Billion (USD 16 Billion), the implementation of the first phase of the project worth SAR 25.5 Billion (USD 6.8 Billion) being approved. The first phase of the ambitious project for the construction of the transport system will be completed in 2019. According to the head of the executive board of Mecca Integrated Transport Authority, Osama Al-Bar, two such lines will be built in the first phase of the metro project (the first line will be the red line, while the second line will be the green line). The lines will have around 46 km, and 40% of the length of the network will be built in the underground. The first metro line will be 11km long with seven stations, while the second will be 33km long with 15 stations.
In March, Makkah & Mashaaer Development Commission invited interested companies to bid for the shortlisting of the construction contract of phase 1 of the metro project. The design and construction contract includes the construction of the infrastructure, the stations, energy supply, telecommunications and CBTC, control centre, tariff system etc. Also, the contract could be extended to include phase 2 and 3 of the metro development project for which 123 km of line and 66 stations are estimated to be constructed over the next 10 years.
In April, consortia including Saudi and international companies were shortlisted in the first phase of the deal with construction works due to begin at the beginning of 2014. At the end of April, the Development Committee has invited interested parties to participate in the shortlisting for the development of phase 2 and 3 of the metro project. The winners of the contract will be announced in the second quarter of 2015 and the duration of the contract will be 45 months for the B and C lines (part of the 4-line network).