Riyadh: Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, Riyadh Governor, has revealed that the design work and studies carried out for the construction of the kingdom's ambitious metro rail project have been completed.
"Construction of the light-rail project will start once the formal approval [is] granted," he said in a press release on Monday.
Experts point out that the metro project will be a giant step toward easing traffic congestion in the capital city, whose population stands at six million.
Authorities have stepped up efforts to implement the project after noting its resounding success in easing traffic congestion in Dubai.
According to studies carried out by the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), nearly 85 per cent of the population of Riyadh uses private cars as their primary mode of transport.
Some 8 per cent rely on buses while another 5 per cent depend on limousines. Only 2 per cent of people take advantage of the public transport system, which is only nominal in the largest city in the Gulf.
Chairing an ADA meeting, Prince Salman reviewed the progress of the plan to develop the first phase of the public transport system in the capital. The rail project will have a length of 42km.
The first phase will involve the construction of a 25km north-south route. It will extend from the northern side of the ring road to Olaya and Batha streets up to the southern ring road.
The second phase will involve a 14km route extending from the eastern side of the ring road across King Abdul Aziz Road up to King Khalid Road in the west.
It is expected that the first phase of the project will cover 30 districts of the city.
Distances between stations will be 600 metres in highly populated areas and 1,100 metres to 2,000 metres in less populated areas of the city.
The rail system is expected to serve 1,500 passengers per hour per track initially. This is expected to rise to 8,000 passengers per hour.
"The electric metro system in Riyadh is part of the ADA's efforts to make the public transport system more effective and popular," a recent ADA report revealed.