I am moving to Jeddah in few weeks. One of my friends in Saudi Arabia told me that there is no public transport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I am not in such a position to get own vehicle immediately after reacing Saudi Arabia so what are my options for local transport in Jeddah city, specially daily while going to work-place and coming back. Also guide me about own vehicle / driving license in Jeddah as I might plan this for my future.
Answer to the Question
City transport in Jeddah is not in good shape. In current year’s budget Saudi authorities planned to invest on public transport. However it might take a lot of time.
Two Saudi Riyals Coaster / Mini Bus / Hafila / 2 SR bus
You will often see it moving on Jeddah streets, however these hafila buses are not available for every part of the city. These mini buses are very old models probably from 1970’s and 1980’s. Mostly driven by ill mannered drivers. They charge 2 SR from any point to any point during a single trip. Majority of these buses are available at down town Jeddah, The hafila bus start its trip from down town, go to its other destination at other part of the city. Then start its trip back to Down Town Jeddah again.
SAPTCO Bus for Jeddah city transport ticket cost is 2 Saudi Riyals. It has various routs inside Jeddah city but it is rarely available on the streets. It is an air-conditioned bus covering various parts of Jeddah city.
Take a look in SAPTCO bus ride.
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Available in huge number on all Jeddah streets, trip cost starts from SR 10 and depends on the destination, there is no Taxi meter who decide your travel distance and cost. You can also bargain with driver and drop one taxi if driver is not decreasing trip cost, because one will go and another will come at same time. I also heard a news some time ago that Jeddah authorities are planning to develop a Taxi system in which you just call a number and nearest available vehicle will come to pick you up, this could decrease traffic jams on Jeddah streets. However this is not yet implemented, taxis are wondering freely on the streets for passengers.
Some time it may happen to you. You are waiting for a taxi on road and suddenly a private car flashes head lights near you or the driver is asking you for hiring his car. This will be a private car, it normally charges less than a taxi and take you to your destination. These cars are not licensed for picking up passengers from the streets and any time a police car could stop this and investigate if it is used for loading / unloading passengers. Still they are available and the guys inside them earning livelihood.
Rent a Car
There are dozens of ‘Rent a car’ services available in Jeddah. Their daily charge for a normal car starts from SR 90, maximum 150 for a luxurious car. However they apply a limit on traveling miles (I guess 200 KM a day). For extra millage you have to pay them more. For out of city travel you got to mention while renting. You can also have a monthly agreement for rent a car which is ranging from SR 900 to SR 1500.
Having own Transportation in Jeddah, Getting Driving License is an easy step, you could go for it as well.
At the end I would like to mention, the hafila / 2 Riyals bus are sometimes dangerous. There drivers are riding like rockets and they have bad manners as well. In countries like Pakistan and India you can have a bike as a source of transport but in Jeddah it is not possible to ride a bike in between quick traffic. These days a picture is moving on social media sites, you can get an idea about hafila from it as well.