Companies will be invited to bid for contracts for the Mecca metro and bus rapid transport (BRT) system in mid-October.

The transport network is part of the SR60bn ($16.5bn) Mecca Public Transport Programme (MPTP).

Speaking at MEED’s Saudi Mega Infrastructure Projects conference, chief of the bus team at Mecca Mass Rail Transit Company, Khaled Shammout, said that following the prequalification phase, the contract tenders will be issued before the end of December.

Mecca mass rail transit programme maximum demand*
Line Phase 1 Phase 2  
Line B (31.9km when complete) 6,280 19,000
Line C (48.9km when complete) 17,940 23,362
*=People per hour; km=Kilometres. Source: Mecca Mass Rail Transit Company 

He added the company was in the process of finalising how the contracts will be packaged in the next two to three weeks.

The BRT will require a total of 1,700 buses and Shammout said they were in the process of “wrapping up” 30 per cent of the design for the network. It will have a total length of 123 kilometres, and will have 147 stations covering major highways and smaller local roads.

Mecca mass rail transit project (MMRT) will comprise four rail lines, 88 stations and more than 180km of track.

In early July, US firm Parsons Brinckerhoff was awarded the $93.6m project management contract for the MPTP.

The metro is much-needed in Mecca as the number of pilgrims visiting the holy city is expected to rise in the coming years.

Mecca has a population of about 1.5 million and accommodates 2.5 million Hajj pilgrims and another 2.8 million Umrah visitors annually. This number is expected to rise to 6.5 million by 2029.