Are Saudi Haramain Rail’s fares fair for the speedy travel it offers?
Last week, King Salman inaugurated a high-speed rail service that will link its two holiest cities: Mecca and Medina. It was dubbed the Haramain High-Speed Rail, and will make the life of Hajj pilgrims much easier, shortening travel times and decreasing commuting costs.
It has been delayed 10 days, from Oct 1 to Oct 11, 2018.
But how much would you be looking to pay on board?
A budget-friendly option?
(Image: Haramain Rail)
The ticket rate for the journey between the two passenger stations in Jeddah and Makkah has been priced at SAR 40 ($10.8) in the tourist class and SAR 50 ($13.5) in business class. The trip between Makkah and Madinah costs SAR 150 ($40.5) in tourist class and SAR 250 ($67.5) in business class.
Quoting the SPA’s announcement, the Saudi Gazette notes: “[A] one-way tourist class train ticket fare from Sulaimaniyah station in Jeddah to Makkah will be SR 20 ($5.4)while the fare for business class will be SR 25 ($6.75).”
“The ticket fares for tourist class between Makkah and Madinah is SAR 75 while the business class would cost SAR 125. The tourist class ticket will cost SAR 63 ($17) between Jeddah and Madinah while the business class fare is SAR 105 ($28.35). The fares from Rabigh to Madinah will be SAR 50 for tourist class and SAR 75 ($20.25) for business class.”
There will be a discount of 50% in ticket fares for an initial period of two months from Oct. 11.
Mohammed Fida, director general of the Haramain High Speed Train Project, said tickets can be booked online through the service’s website. They will also release an app to coincide with the launch for on-the-go booking.
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Worth the fare?
The Haramain railway is 450-km in length, and will reduce travel times significantly.
“The journey between the Haramain (two holy mosques) is now shorter and easier than at any time before,” Transport Minister Nabil al-Amoudi said at the inauguration.
The new rail service will reportedly reduce travel time between the two cities by half, easing the traffic congestion that piles up every Hajj. Chairman of Saudi Public Transport Authority Rumaih bin Mohammed Al Rumaih said that the train will run at 300 kph.
Schedules and prices to change in 2019
The head of the Public Transport Authority, General Director of the General Establishment of Railways, Dr. Rumih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih announced the journeys and prices of the Haramain Express Train.
As of its opening on October 11, and by the end of December 2018, the train will run on period-exclusive journeys and prices. These are set to change in 2019, with more schedules to be added.
Trains will run on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, starting from the stations of Makkah Al Mukarramah, Madinah, Sulaymaniyah in Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.
The launch of trains from the King Abdulaziz International Airport will begin after the station and airport are completed, the SPA said.
The trains will operate a total of eight trips per day in both directions (four trips in each direction).