JEDDAH: Residents who want to benefit from the government’s lowcost Haj scheme can now register themselves on the localhaj.haj.gov.sa website. Because of the limited quota, the registration should be done early.
The process began on Sunday (Dul Qaada 1) and packages available start from SR3,000.
Majid Siddique, media coordinator for the Siddique Haj Group, told Arab News that the ministry has started online registration for normal and low-cost Haj.
He explained that the quota is very limited this year — about 41,000 — with around 40 operators’ prices ranging from SR3,000 to SR5,250, depending on the location of the tents in Mina and transportation. One should expect minimum services in the low-cost category.
His group is offering packages for normal Haj from SR5,893 to SR7,000.
According to the Ministry of Haj, there are six low-fare Haj categories depending on availability of transportation by buses and trains. Children are not allowed in low-cost Haj, and the pilgrims will be provided with normal tents.
According to the ministry, the normal Haj charges range from SR7,546 to SR8,146.
In the normal and VIP Haj category, tents are prepared with gypsum board and aluminum doors. Facilities given to them are air conditioning, speakers, sofa beds, pillows, sheet sets, comforters, shelves for luggage and shoes, carpets, artificial grass walkways, Wi-Fi, toilets (one for each 30 Hajis and one for special-needs pilgrims), sanitary items, medical clinic, religious guide and security guards.
The ministry has said that bookings for all categories of local Haj should be done online through its portal http://localhaj.haj.gov.sa
Meanwhile, 18 Saudi transport companies have prepared 17,700 well-equipped buses — 1,698 of them new — to ferry 1.3 million pilgrims coming from abroad.
A private transport official said the government wants to offer best services to the pilgrims and help them perform Haj with safety, ease and comfort. As part of preparations, Haj Minister Bandar Hajjar has authorized three new companies that have 150 buses.
Another transport official said that every year buses in poor condition are replaced by new ones to ensure safety of the pilgrims.
He said there are 24,000 jobs for drivers and technicians for the season provided by the transport companies.
He added that the impact of the Al-Mashaer Metro is still limited because the metro is only available on one line.
A total of 240 Haj campaigns are ready to take care of 200,000 local pilgrims, local media has reported.
Ministry Undersecretary Hussien Al-Sharief was quoted as saying that more than 200 companies have already registered their services on its website.
He called on these companies to be quick on entering their bank account numbers on the electronic portal for those who are interested in doing Haj.
He said as of this year the number of domestic pilgrims will once again be the same as in previous years because of the expansion at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque. Because of this, new companies are being allowed to offer services.
Al-Sharief said that after the end of the Haj season, there will be an evaluation of the level of performance of the electronic portal and of the special prices relating to different paths.