Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, is building what is considered the world’s largest public transit system in just five years. Managed by The High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh (HCDA), the project includes 24 bus routes covering 1,900 km with 3,000 stations and stops, as well as six metro lines covering 176km. At a total cost of $27bn, it is Saudi Arabia’s first public transportation network and has been deemed the largest infrastructure project worldwide. Mercedes-Benz and MAN will provide the fleet of buses. In order to implement its multi-supplier strategy, HCDA had to unify the design of its metro cars and buses, so all manufacturers will provide a finished product with an identical look and feel. In addition, certain cultural elements have been integrated in the interior design of the vehicles.
Riyadh’s population of 6.5m is expected to reach 8.3m by 2030. Its streets currently handle 9m car trips daily, making the need for a public transit network imperative. Because of the tight timeframe for a project of this size, three consortia were awarded the project, made up of 35 international firms specialising in construction, design, operations and maintenance. Today, more than 52,000 people are working on the project, in 23 different languages. Construction of the project is expected to finish at the end of 2018. Testing of the service will start simultaneously in the last quarter of the same year, with the objective to begin service to the public in the second half of 2019.