Saudi women to drive female students to school, work in car rental, says transport chief

Arab News | Published — Thursday 5 October 2017


A file photo shows Saudi woman driving her car along a street in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on Sep. 27. (AFP)


RIYADH: Certain transportation activities may possibly be limited to women, like female teachers’ commutes, since women will be able to drive school buses and microbuses, Rumaih Al-Rumaih, the president of the Public Transport Authority (PTA), said.

Al-Rumaih also highlighted that transportation activities are available for both men and women, “and as soon as women are permitted to drive and start applying for driver’s licenses, they will have the right to work in all related activities.”

“The PTA does not intend to hire foreign female drivers because the Saudization rate in the transport sector is quite low. We also aim to end the monopoly in this sector,” Al-Rumaih said. “It is not a requirement that women work only driving vehicles; there are many other activities and jobs, like car rental offices and others.”

Through Saudization, the PTA aims to improve service, according to Al-Rumaih, “More than 220,000 Saudi men provide car-hailing services, and we are very likely to hire women among them.”

“Transport regulations were not introduced for men alone, but for men and women equally, and job requirements in the field of transportation are the same for both genders,” Al-Rumaih said, “We are also considering limiting certain activities to women, such as female teachers’ commutes.”

Speaking of his future expectations for women’s status in the transport sector, he said, “The decree was issued a week ago, so we still need to further study implementing it.”

During the launch ceremony of Uber’s new office in Riyadh, Al-Rumaih explained that the company will provide 140,000 part-time and full-time jobs, and the authority is very keen on achieving a high Saudization rate in the sector.

When asked about women’s driving schools, Al-Rumaih said: “Training drivers is the concern of the General Department of Traffic — our job is limited to licensing transportation activities.”

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