Stock - Saudi economy / Riyadh skyline
The first stage of the public bus transportation plan will start with operating more than 350 buses on 15 routes. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Riyadh officially has a new bus service, and it is now in operation.

The new bus service – ‘Riyadh Bus’ was launched on March 19, and the first phase has started with more than 350 buses on 15 routes across the city. You can also book tickets for the service online.

Here is all you need to know.

What is the ‘Riyadh Bus’ service?

On March 19, the Royal Commission of Riyadh City announced the launch of the first phase of the ‘Riyadh Bus’ service, which is part of the King Abdulaziz Public Transport Project. The project is dedicated to building a world-class rapid transport network for Riyadh, which includes expanding the ‘Riyadh Bus’ service and creating the ‘Riyadh Metro’

Upon completion of all five phases, the public bus network will have a total length of 1,900 km and over 800 buses will operate through more than 2,900 stations and stops.

Current bus routes in Riyadh

Here are the current bus routes of the public bus transportation plan:

1. Transportation Centre - King Saud University (Route No. 7)
2. Al Batha - Dallah Driving School (Route No. 8)
3. Transportation Center - Northern Vegetable Market (Route No. 9)
4. Al Batha - Khalid Bin Alwaleed (Route No. 10)
5. King Abdulaziz - Salahuddin Al Ayubi (Route No. 11)
6. Al Batha – Tuwaiq (Route No. 16)
7. Al Batha - New Industrial City (Route No. 17)
8. Al Batha - Al-Masani (Route No. 160)
9. Qasr al-Hukm- Olaishah (Route No. 180)
10. As-Sulaimanyah - National Guard Hospital (Route No. 250)
11. Ar Rabi - Al Yarmuk (Route No. 342)
12. Hassan Bin Thabit - Al Khaleej (Route No. 540)
13. Transportation Center – Dirab (Route No. 660)
14. Transportation Center – Irqah (Route No. 680)
15. West Al-Uraija - Ar Rabi (Route No. 730)

To download a map of all the current bus routes in Riyadh, visit the website -

‘Riyadh Bus’ Ramadan timings
The bus operates from 7.30am to 3.30am during Ramadan.

Three ways to pay for a bus trip

You can pay for the bus fare through the following methods:

1. A standard ticket
2. A ‘Darb’ bus card.
3. Tapping a digital or contactless credit or debit card on your smart phone on the bus reader

1. ‘Riyadh Bus’ fare cost and ticket prices

Standard ticket: Saudi Riyal 4 (Dh3.92).

A single standard ticket is valid for two hours from the time you first scan it on the bus. It also allows passengers to move to another bus within this period of time.

You can purchase a standard ticket at a bus station or bus stop, or a digital ticket through the ‘riyadh bus’ smartphone app, which is available for Apple and Android devices.

How to buy a digital bus ticket

1. Download the ‘riyadh bus’ app.
2. Next, tap on ‘tickets’ on the menu bar at the bottom of your mobile screen.
3. Choose your language – Arabic or English.
4. Click on the ‘Register’ button.
5. Create an account – enter your full name, mobile number and email address.
6. Create a password, and then click ‘register’.
7. Pay for the ticket online, using your debit or credit card.
8. The digital ticket will be saved on the app. You must have an active internet connection when you scan the digital ticket on the bus.

2. ‘Darb’ bus card

‘Darb’ is a prepaid rechargeable bus card and is one of the ways to pay for a trip on the ‘Riyadh Bus’. The card comes in a physical and digital form. You can save the digital version of the ‘Darb’ card on the ‘riyadh bus’ app.

You can purchase the card through the following ways:

• From the ticket vending station located in Ali Bin Abi Taleb Street.
• At ticket vending machines – available at some bus stations and stops.

To find out the vending machine location closest to you, you can contact the Riyadh Bus call centre on 1 99 33.

Cost: Saudi Riyals 10 (Dh9.79)

You can pay for a ‘Darb’ card with cash or with credit or debit card. Once you buy the card, you will then need to add balance to it, for anywhere between Saudi Riyals 5 to Saudi Riyals 500.

50 per cent discount for special categories

According to ‘Riyadh Bus’, passengers from these special categories are eligible for the discount if they have a special ‘Darb’ card. Here are the documents required for the ‘concession card’:

1. Children between the ages of six to 18 – National ID or Iqama
2. Students – Student ID from university based in Saudi Arabia.
3. Elderly - National ID or Iqama
4. People of Determination, also including their companion – Disability card, National ID or Iqama
5. Cancer patients – Official medical report from Ministry of Health
6. Families of martyrs - National ID or Iqama, and official letter from Ministry of Interior or Ministry of Defense or ‘Shahim’ card.

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