SAPTCO Riyadh Bus
Public buses in Riyadh are operated by Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO). Image Credit: Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) website -

Dubai: If you are on a tight budget or don’t have a driving licence yet, the public buses operated by the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) are an affordable and convenient option for travelling around Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

To use the public bus in Riyadh, all you need is a SAPTCO smart card with sufficient balance in it, for your trip.

SAPTCO is a publicly owned company that oversees the operation, management and maintenance of the bus network in Riyadh. It is also the main public transportation service in Makkah, Madina, Jeddah, and Dammam.

Here is all you need to know about Riyadh’s public bus network.

Public bus timings in Riyadh

SAPTCO buses in Riyadh are operational every day, from 5.30am to 11.30pm.

SR 3.45

The standard bus fare in Riyadh

How to buy a smart card for the public bus in Riyadh

Passengers can buy the SAPTCO smart card in three ways:

1. The ‘SAPTCO Urban Transport’ app, which is available for Apple and Android devices.
2. From the bus driver.
3. SAPTCO card vending machines.

How much does the SAPTCO smart card cost?

You can buy a card for SR25 (Dh24), SR50 (Dh48), SR75 (Dh73) or SR100 (Dh97).

How to buy a digital SAPTCO smart card:

You can easily buy a smart card on the ‘SAPTCO Urban Transport’ app, in a few minutes. Here’s how:

Step One: Create an account

• Download the app from the Apple app store and Google Play Store.
• Open the app, and tap on ‘Buy My Card’ on the app’s home page.
• You will then be asked to create an account. First, enter your mobile number. After a few seconds, you will receive a One-Time-Password (OTP) via SMS.
• Enter the code on the app.
• Next, provide your email address and create a user name and password for your new account.

Step Two: Buy the SAPTCO smartcard online

• Once you have created an account, you will be asked to log in with your new account.
• Next, tap on ‘Buy My Card’ again, and select the type of smart card you want, according to the cost.
• Tap on the ‘Continue’ button.
• Pay the amount online, via credit or debit card.
• After the payment process is complete, the app will generate a virtual card with a Quick Response (QR) code and display the available balance on your card.

When you board the bus, you have to ensure that the app is open on your phone. Then, hold the screen up to the ticket validator device, which will scan the QR code on the virtual card and deduct the fare from your balance.

How to recharge your SAPTCO smart card on the app

1. Log in to the app by entering your mobile number.
2. Tap on the ‘SAPTCO Card Operations Button’ on the homepage.
3. Enter the 11-digit numerical code on the smart card and tap ‘Query’.
4. Next, you will be able to view the balance on your card.
5. To recharge, tap on ‘Online Recharge’.
6. Select the amount and pay the cost online with your debit or credit card.

Bus routes in Riyadh

There are seven main bus routes in Riyadh and the buses arrive at a frequency of every 10 to 20 minutes.

Route 7 - Al Batha (main bus stop) to King Khaled University Hospital

There are six bus stops on this route:
1. Civil Affairs
2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
3. Al Nasiriyah
4. King Khalid Grand Mosque
5. King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital

Route 8 – Al Batha to Dallah Driving School

There are five bus stops on this route:
1. Civil Affairs
2. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
3. King Faisal Specialist Hospital
4. Euromarch markets
5. King Abdullah Financial District

Route 9: Public Transportation Center (Al Batha) to North Vegetable Market

There are five bus stops on this route:
1. Al Batha
2. Chamber of Commerce
3. Faisaliyah Tower
4. Kingdom Tower
5. Uwais markets

Route 10: Al Batha to Al Rawdah District

There are five bus stops on this route:
1. Central Post
2. King Faisal bin Fahd Stadium
3. Riyadh Zoo
4. Ministry of the National Guard
5. Labour Office (Al Rawdah)

Route 16: Bin Sulaiman Trading Centre to Jeddah Road Bridge

There are seven bus stops along this route:
1. Bin Sulaiman Trading Centre
2. Almaigliah Market
3. King Saud Medical City
4. Saqr Quraish School
5. Albadeah Mall
6. Al Nassr Sports Club
7. Jeddah Road Bridge

Route 17: Al Batha to Industrial City

There are seven bus stops along this route:
1. Al Batha (RADO)
2. Observatory House
3. Al Kharj House
4. Yamama Cement
5. Convalescent Hospital
6. Riyadh Cables
7. Industrial City

To get real-time updates and current timings on public bus routes in Riyadh, you must download the ‘SAPTCO Urban Transport’ app.

How to plan your trip on the SAPTCO app:

To use the app, you first need to allow the app to access your current location, by giving it access through your mobile phone’s settings.

1. Open the app and tap on ‘Trip Planner'.
2. Enter your arrival and departure point, and then tap on the arrow in the corner right of your mobile screen.
3. Next, the app will then provide you with real-time information on the bus timings and routes.