Cairo: Public buses plying in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca transported over 7.5 million passengers during this Ramadan, an operator has said.
Millions of Muslims from inside and outside Saudi Arabia usually flock to Mecca home to Islam’s holiest site, to perform prayers and Umrah or lesser pilgrimage in Ramadan.
The buses, operating along 12 routes, made 4,100 journeys on average per day during Ramadan, transporting around 258,500 users daily, the Mecca Public Buses Transportation Project said in an overview.
The buses operated over 120,000 journeys during the lunar month, which ended on Thursday.
Ramadan usually marks the peak of Umrah season at the Grand Mosque, particularly in the last 10 days of the month.
Saudi authorities described this season as exceptional, citing record numbers of the faithful thronging the Grand Mosque in Ramadan.
The number of worshippers at the site reached more than 22 million in the first 20 days of Ramadan, according to official Saudi figures.
In recent months, the kingdom has unveiled a host of facilities for Muslims wishing to come to the country to perform Umrah.
In October 2020, Saudi Arabia gradually resumed Umrah after about seven months of suspension due to COVID-19. In August 2021, overseas Muslims wishing to perform Umrah were allowed back into Saudi Arabia under certain health conditions to curb COVID-19 spread.
In March last year, Saudi Arabia lifted most anti-coronavirus restrictions. This included scrapping physical distancing among worshippers at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mohammed Mosque.