Here in Riyadh, there are 2 kinds of local buses.
1. Government owned called SAPTCO - runs within a specific routes but also runs to all the cities in the Kingdom.
2. Privately owned coasters - runs within certain areas of the city only. The fare is cheaper compared to the government owned. However, comfort is compromise.
Limousine is the common term for taxi in the big cities in the Kingdom. The fare is relatively cheap with a flag down fare of 5SR. The number of limousines have increased over the past few years to the extent that you can find a limo in every corner.
The nationality of the drivers are mostly Indian's, Pakistani's & Saudi's.
Don't worry! most of the limo drivers speak very basic English.
Almost all the people/family here in Riyadh has a car of their own. From a Toyota to Lexus, from Hyundai to BMW. For most of the people here, having a car is not a luxury but a necessity. Its easier to move around esp if you're travelling with women or children. Its very rare that i see people who travel by Limo's or the so called Taxi's.
Fuel is amazingly cheap - 60 halala per liter.More or less Ten cents per liter.
Expats who work here esp male / family are usually provided by theior employer a car/van of their own.
It is advisable to drive a 4 wheel car/suv (4 wheel drive) when visiting the desert and sand dunes beacuse it will be easy for you to manouver in the desert. This way you can drive all the way to the stony/rocky desert instead of leaving your car near the highway though some desert can be reach through a regular car or a 2 wheel drive.
My hubby and I flew to Riyadh from Manila via Saudia Airlines - First Class.
The aircarft is relatively big, and for first class seating capacity they have around 20 seats with 2 spacious seats per row.
Individual TV monitor with games, movies and music.They also have Wide selection of food and drinks though no liquor or any alcoholic beverages are being served on board.
Their travelling Kit is really nice..complete with brush, toothpaste,toothbrush ,socks, lotion etc.
Below ae the list of their food menu for Manila/Riyadh flight:
a. Appetizer : Smoked Salmon and Marinated Scallops
b. Salad : Fresh sesonal salad or arabic salad
c. Soup : CHicken Soup or quaker soup
c.Main Course : GRilled Beef Tendeloin, Chicken with Safron Cream, Spicy Prawn with Noddles or Lamb Biryani
d. Dessert : Cream Brulee with Ice cream or fresh seasonal fruits
Hot Snacks: (Second Meal)
a. Salad: Fresh Seasonal Salad,Sautted Shrimp with Salad
b. Main COurse: Arroz La Cubana,Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Breats Tocino or Chicken Biryani
c. Dessert: Apple Pie
These small 10 seater buses that run around all day ,they're everywhere only 40pence for the journey.Mind you they could do with some maintenance......when I say maintenance ,I mean Scrapping!!!!!! No decent exhausts,panels falling off.All part of lifes rich tapestry I suppose....When in Rome etc.
When you arrive at the airport to leave the Kingdom,be prepared to be messed about,long delays,not because of extra security,or anything beneficial, just because they can.The guys on the check in desks seem to take great delight in pissing westerners off.......And they do,but just be calm,relax and think of the freedom flight out of there !!!!!
As you can tell by the big smiles on Ed Bromley and Nigels Syms faces,its a great pleasure when you get through to the departure lounge.
Getting around in Riyadh is difficult without your own car, so if you are intend to work here for a long time better to get one, rent a car also available there are numerous rent a car in the city.
note: only the men are allowed to drive here and wearing a seatbelts is a law.
In Riyadh, taxis are commonly referred to as Limos or Limousines, most common way for people to get around the city. All taxis are strictly licensed with driver's ID in the windshield, and cars must be maintained to a reasonably safe standard. So there's really no problem with disreputable or dangerous service here. Gas is cheap, drivers don't usually complain, and the attitudes of the mostly Pakistani and India drivers are generally quite friendly and helpful. Although few cars a dangerous wrecks, some cars are better maintained or newer than others, so I usually flagged one down that appeared to have good brakes, lots of A/C, and no cracks in the windshield. Taxis are everywhere, prices are cheap, and competition keen. For those on a budget though, the buses can be just as adequate and far cheaper still. Only special buses on particular routes accept women passengers, so they must take the taxi. It's safe and acceptable for women to stand on the curb and flag down a taxi in Riyadh. However, most women, expat and Saudi alike, develop a rapport with a driver they trust, and reach an agreement to have the driver waiting for regular errands. Also, it's useful to create a list of several drivers who have cell phones and who can be called upon to make a quick pick-up within a few minutes. Naturally, women who live in compounds have to make arrangements for drivers to enter past security. Women with vehicles must also have a driver, so while gas is cheap, the cost of maintaining a vehicle and driver in Riyadh can be a significant cost.
Taxi is one of the convenience tranportation to get around the city, many taxis here are not using their meters they accept passengers at negotiated fixed price taxi fare starts at 5 to 25 riyals depends on the distance. you can get taxi anywhere most of them are color white, and drivers are mostly from asian country.
Considering the long distance separate the main towns of the Kingdom, the air travel can be the most convinient and practical means within the boarders.
Saudi arabia has three International airport:
1. King Abdul Aziz- jeddah
2. king Khaled Intl.- riyadh
3. King Fhad Intl - Dammam
Where to find them?
Everywhere and anytime.
How to reach them?
Simply Scream TAXI or point by your hand they will stop for you.
Eye contact is enough to stop them.
Who can ride them?
Both males and females.
How much to pay them?
I remember 10 minute of diving he took about 15 riyals. Just bargain and he might low the price.
SR3.75 to U.S. $1.00.
Taxi drivers are very friendly and mostly from South East Asia + Saudis.
Unfortunately their driving mostly horrible.
The cheapest way to get around is by the minibus transport that generally starts downtown near the Holy Mosque and Main Souk and then radiates out along main boulevards to the edges of town. The drivers or passengers can speak enough English to help determine which bus to take, but the names are also written in both Arabic and Roman writing in the front window. These rusty wrecks are licensed by the city, but are generally loaded with people to the point of breaking leaf springs. Actually, it was for this reason that I rode them. I enjoyed mixing with the rank and file Saudis and Expatrates from the Asian and Arabic nations. Only men can ride these minivans though. Stand out on the curb and wave to get them to stop, but if you stand in the wrong place or the bus is too full, they won't stop. There are also a fleet of large more slow moving buses that allow women to sit in the rear seats, separated by a rail or sometimes a window pane. These stop at more specific places around the city, and don't go by very often.
Very dry roads out there as I'm sure you can imagine,whenever they do get a deluge of rain the roads are slippey as ice.The local arabs just carry on driving as usual(which is pretty hairy at the best of times).Near accident blackspots you'll find red breakdown trucks (they remind me of Vultures ) just waiting on the side of the road waiting for the inevitable accidents.......Sure enough BANG here they come.I must've seen 5-6 crashes on a 45 minute trip back to the hotel from work.I think Riyadh driving instructors do their training ( if at all !!!) in Naples in Italy
Taxi within city center is not really hard to find.
Usually a lot of vacant ones on non-peak hours and they are the ones who come running and looking for passengers on most times. So do not be afraid to bargain and offer a fixed deal. 10 SR is usually the deal for any location within the city areas and 5 SR on streets that are closer.
If driver seems to complain I usually say ‘mafi pulus’ meaning ‘no money’ and add that gasoline prices are lowered so it is a good deal. Otherwise, rely on the meter reading if you do not want to haggle and be sure to know the place you are going or you might get a ‘long way’ to your destination which could reflect on your meter price.
On my experience, spotting you from a far, a taxi would have a quick hand wave to call your attention, somehow asking you to wait for him. If competition is tight you can see taxis speeding up to acquire passengers first.
For women, you have to be very cautious, there are a lot of rumors of maniac drivers who tortured and raped women to death and dumped them in unknown dessert deserted areas. As much as possible do not travel alone. Also note that women are only allowed to stay in back seat. Sometimes this experience is also true for men passengers.
In some cases, passengers are not only tortured by these monsters, internal body parts are also sold in the black market. So in case you are not that confident with few martial arts skills, better be safe than have your heart on someone’s body. Scary!
*Photo taken from internet*