Gas stations and rest stops on our highways are a disgrace!


Okaz daily

What a welcome for our brothers and sisters from neighboring Gulf countries when the gas stations and rest stops on our highways are the first thing that they encounter when they enter the Kingdom and the last when they depart for their countries.

I do not know how we can call for increased domestic tourism, or even open the doors for foreign tourists to come to our country when the fact remains that these gas stations and rest stops are in terrible shape and are mostly neglected and unclean. It makes one wonder if there are departments that care for or supervise these gas stations and hold them accountable for their wrongdoing.

If it were up to travelers, they would never stop at these places, but since there are no other options, they are forced to put up with dirty bathrooms and poor service just so they can continue on their way.

Gas stations and rest stops, including the ones owned and operated by major companies, do not care about their reputation or the comfort of travelers. Journalists, columnists and others have long been writing and sharing horror stories about the poor services and lack of hygiene on display at our highway stopping places but their complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Officials have failed to react to these complaints.

The only explanation is that those responsible for the care of gas stations rarely use our highway network and are not bothered enough to do anything about the problem. I think we can blame the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and the supervising departments at the Ministry of Transport. The Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH) also shares part of the blame. Simply put, tourism programs will fail if the situation at highway gas stations and rest stops remains the same.