The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ordering new smart technology to improve transportation services for pilgrims in Makkah. Japan-based information technology firm NEC confirmed this in a statement.
It has received a purchase order from Saudi Arabia for an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS). ITS offers an accurate scheduling service and an automated fare collection system. This uses IC cards to enable cashless, accurate and reliable fare collection. Furthermore, it also helps with a bus location management system via GPS.
To passengers, the smart system conveys bus information through solar powered displays which are installed at various bus stops. The system is set to cover 400 buses next year, with a plan to increase the number to 2,000 buses over the following five years.
According to Saudi transport minister Nabil al-Amoudi, "7,400 planes full of pilgrims arrived this year via Jeddah and Madinah airports" and "more than 18,000 buses were mobilized" for the Hajj. As we all know, sites around Makkah remain chaotic during this holy pilgrimage. By implementing smart services on buses and increasing the number of buses gradually, the pilgrimage experience for travelers may become less hectic and stress inducing in the coming years.