Bahrain-Saudi causeway express lanes proposed
Manama, August 29, 2014
A proposal to install express lanes with automatic checkpoints on the King Fahad Causeway has been put forward by Bahrain's business community.
If implemented, the plan would require electronic gateways to be installed in dedicated "commuter lanes" that motorists could operate using their CPR (Central Population Registry) card or a fingerprint scan, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It is the brainchild of Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry's (BCCI) transportation committee, who say the proposal - which has been referred to parliament - would save time and money while also providing a boost to the country's economy.
Committee head Abdulhakim Al Shammary told the GDN that those who 'usually travel alone - either for business appointments, to catch transit flights or to attend a class' are the most likely to benefit from the scheme.
“These people get stuck in long queues waiting to enter the country, but I believe this proposal will ease some of the pressure on them,” he said.
“With such a facility, they could pass through the gates quickly instead of having to wait to be served by the people in the toll booths. It would work like an ATM machine '“ user-friendly and secure, because unless you are identified you cannot pass through.”
Al Shammary described the BCCI's proposal as a 'creative solution', which could be run on a trial basis to begin with.
“Even during the trial, it could bring about a significant change, as 30 per cent of commuters travel alone and can be accommodated easily in this new lane,” he said.
“Technical restrictions could also be implemented to stop individuals, who are under scrutiny, from entering or leaving the country.”
Businessmen have urged authorities to implement the initiative on the Bahraini side of the causeway as soon as possible.
“The authorities, I believe, are hesitating to act '“ fearing that failure could affect their positions,” he said.
“I suggest that a high level committee is set up with representatives of all ministries concerned and stakeholders related to the causeway, who could together take responsibility for the change.”
BCCI traffic committee head Ahmed Bin Hindi said the proposal could make life much easier for Bahrain's business community.
“The causeway is a major factor for us Bahrainis and many of our businesses depend on it,” he said.
“Facilitating movement on the causeway - be it on a commercial level or for passengers - will definitely support the mutual interest of both countries. These are the days of high technology and this is an excellent move.”
No one from the King Fahad Causeway Authority could be reached for comment on the BCCI's suggestion. - TradeArabia News Service