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Public Transportation in Medina

Mastering the public transportation system in Medina is a crucial aspect of adapting to life there. This article provides a detailed overview of the available local transit options.

Public transportation in Medina, is a blend of modern and traditional systems. The city offers a variety of options including the Al Haramain High-Speed Railway, local buses, taxis, and ride-hailing services like Uber and Careem. While the city is walkable, especially within the central area surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque, the public transportation system is efficient enough for an expat to live comfortably without a car. However, owning a car can provide more convenience and flexibility, especially for those living in the outskirts or planning frequent trips outside the city.

Al Haramain High-Speed Railway

The Al Haramain High-Speed Railway is a state-of-the-art rail system that connects Medina with Mecca, Jeddah, and King Abdullah Economic City. It’s a safe and efficient mode of transportation, with trains reaching speeds of up to 300 km/h. The railway is particularly popular during the Hajj and Umrah seasons, providing a convenient way for pilgrims to travel between the holy cities. A one-way ticket from Medina to Mecca costs around 75 SAR (20 USD), making it an affordable option for long-distance travel. The stations are modern and well-maintained, with amenities such as lounges, retail outlets, and parking facilities.

Local Buses

Local buses in Medina are operated by the Saudi Public Transport Company (SAPTCO). They provide coverage across the city and its outskirts, with routes connecting residential areas, shopping centers, and key landmarks. The buses are generally safe and reliable, although they can get crowded during peak hours. A single journey costs around 2 SAR (0.50 USD), making it a cost-effective option for daily commuting. However, the buses may not always run on schedule, and the routes can be confusing for newcomers. It’s recommended to use a navigation app or ask locals for assistance.

Taxis and Ride-Hailing Services

Taxis are a common sight in Medina, providing a convenient way to get around the city. They can be hailed on the street or booked through a hotel. While taxis are generally safe, it’s advisable to negotiate the fare before starting the journey, as not all taxis are metered. Alternatively, ride-hailing services like Uber and Careem offer a more transparent pricing structure and can be booked through a smartphone app. These services are safe and reliable, with drivers undergoing background checks and vehicles being regularly inspected.


Walking is a viable option in Medina, especially within the central area surrounding the Prophet’s Mosque. The city is known for its clean and well-maintained streets, with pedestrian-friendly features such as wide sidewalks, crosswalks, and shade structures. However, the hot desert climate can make walking uncomfortable during the summer months. It’s advisable to carry water and wear sun protection when walking long distances.

In conclusion, public transportation in Medina is diverse and efficient, catering to the needs of both residents and visitors. While owning a car can provide more convenience, it’s certainly possible for an expat to live comfortably without one. Whether you prefer the speed of the high-speed railway, the affordability of local buses, the convenience of taxis, or the simplicity of walking, Medina offers a range of options to suit your lifestyle.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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