Posted on: Saturday 13 October, 2012 9:00
|Haj transportation services optimized
With the addition of 1,083 new coaches at a cost of SR550 million, the General Cars Syndicate has a fleet of 19,184 buses under its umbrella to serve the pilgrims. — SPA
Saudi Gazette report
MADINAH – The level of services provided by the General Cars Syndicate’s Madinah branch to pilgrims and visitors of the Prophet’s Mosque has gradually increased to its current peak levels, said the organization.
Madinah is expecting large groups of pilgrims this year for Haj and the syndicate’s local branch is focused on completing its administrative and financial tasks and duties as well as coordinating with the government authorities providing Haj services in the holy city.
Adel Rashad Bardisi, Director of the General Cars Syndicate’s Madinah branch, said the main duties and tasks of the branch include transporting pilgrims by land from the border crossing points to Madinah, Makkah and Jeddah until they depart.
Transport services are also provided to pilgrims from Prince Muhammad Bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah to the downtown area and back.
The syndicate issues authorizations to field service offices to transport pilgrims. These authorizations have to be submitted then to the transportation companies.
The syndicate also issues approvals to refund tickets not used by pilgrims. Its function is to also attend to breakdowns on the Hijra Expressway by sending mechanics to the location to deal with the breakdowns as quickly as possible.
Bardisi said if dealing with a breakdown takes over 20 minutes, an alternative bus is provided to transport the pilgrims and their luggage.
Bardisi said syndicate branches monitor firsthand the operation of transport companies’ buses within their jurisdictions round the clock.
This is achieved by deploying employees for direct field supervision and to follow up on companies in order to ensure a sufficient number of buses are provided any time during the season.
The syndicate branch also makes sure buses are in a good condition and adhere to quality and safety standards.
Bardisi added: “Among the most important latest developments at the syndicate’s Madinah branch is the introduction of a GPS system in the operation room to pinpoint the location of buses that have broken down within the city and on the expressways. “Hence, field teams can be dispatched to the location of the broken down bus quickly.
“This comes within the principle of increasing the quality of our work.
“Electronic gates have been installed at the Al-Hijra Station to control the entry and exit of buses.”
Bardisi said the bus parking lots at the Madinah airport has been equipped with surveillance cameras.
The number of seasonal field jobs has increased while the salaries of seasonal employees have been raised. Workers have also been given walkie-talkies and field vehicles.
In addition, four lighting towers with movable arms have been secured on the expressway. They are used to guide bus drivers at dangerous hairpin curves, especially at night.
Safety and security measures like fire extinguishers have been increased at the airport, syndicate branch and support centers on the expressway.
He added the syndicate has included two companies under its umbrella: the Makkah Rabita Company and Tabarak International Company. This brings the total number of transport companies under the syndicate to 18.
A total of 1,083 new buses at a cost of SR550 million have been bought by some companies under the syndicate’s umbrella, bringing the total fleet to 19,184 buses.
Some support centers on Al-Hijra Expressway have been renovated and re-equipped.
Bardisi said the syndicate is following a policy of development and modernization as well as updating the skills of employees through training programs for seasonal employees and workshops for workers in field service offices and pilgrims transport companies so they can handle the electronic services system efficiently.
He pointed out the total number of full-time and part-time seasonal employees has reached 334 in Madinah.