Saudi Arabia has an extensive public transport network so it's an easy country to navigate. From the buses, taxis, trains and even a fleet of “limousines” it's time to hop on board and explore KSA in 2020.
Saudi Arabia is largest country in the Middle East (and the 12th largest country in the world) with Riyadh and Jeddah (its two biggest cities) being over nine hours away from each other by car. Needless to say, getting around the kingdom by airplane is an essential. There are 27 commercial airports across the massive country with seven of them operating internationally and the biggest being King Fahd International Airport, located in the capital city of Eastern Province, Dammam.
The SAPTCO's (Saudi Public Transport Company) bus service is probably the most pocket-friendly way to get around the kingdom. The local bus network offers a wide network of inter-city routes, connecting more than 385 cities, villages and small villages all over the kingdom – trust us, wherever you are, there will be most likely be a bus station within walking distance. Tickets can be booked online or on-site at the ticket machines inside the bus stations.
Download the app for instant car hire, and pay by card. Careem cars use GPS to find you and you can track their progress while you wait for your driver. Operating across 29 cities including Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, it’s never been easier to get around for the kingdom’s ever-growing ride-hailers. www.careem.com.
Why not navigate yourself around KSA? Women have been able to drive in the country since 2018, and it’s never been easier for both men and women to rent a car and take to the roads. Both international and local car rental services can be found at most airports across the country and as long as you have a valid international driver’s license in hand, it’s a pretty simple process. Top tip: negotiate.
Like to commute in style? Taxis in Saudi Arabia are referred to a limousines and offer a luxe and exceptional way to come and go. The fashionable fleet is broken down into Elite (Mercedes-Benz), Excellence (Mercedes-Benz and Lexus), Economy (Chevrolet), Family (Chevrolet Suburban), and Contracts which offers customers daily, weekly, monthly and long term lease contracts for luxurious cars with drivers.
The super-speedy Haramain High Speed Rail service is the largest and fastest train service in the Middle East. The 450km rail line includes five major stations at Mecca, Medina, Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City and King Abdulaziz International Airport, and all railways stations provide different facilities including business class lounges, parking, mosques and others. The kingdom also offers two more train routes – Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO) and SAR (Saudi Railways Company). SRO offers transportation between Riyadh and Dammam, through Al-Ahsa and Abqaiq, while SAR operates between Riyadh, Majmaah, Qassim, Hail and Jauf and also offers a night service.
www.hhr.sa; www.saudirailways.org; www.sar.com.sa.
Uber Saudi Arabia
Similar to Careem, Uber is another private taxi firm in Saudi Arabia that operates across the kingdom. Download the app and use GPS to book a car to pick you up and drop you off. You can pay by card as well as cash, making it a super convenient way to get from A to Z.
In September 2019, Uber Saudi Arabia launched UberTaxi – the first of its kind within the GCC. UberTaxi lets riders request licensed taxi cabs via the Uber mobile app. Riders are picked up by regular metered taxis instead of private cars. The new(ish) service offers Uber riders a safe, reliable and affordable option to get around the kingdom and gets a big thumbs up from us.