Saudi female drivers increased by 500% in ride-hailing apps in 2021

Riyadh: The number of female drivers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has increased by 500 per cent in 2021, from 600 to 3,900 female working on ride-hailing applications for transportation, local media reported on Monday.

Spokesman of the Public Transport Authority, Saleh Al-Zuwaid said there is also a significant increase in the number of passengers, and the authority is in full contact with ride-hailing applications, to further improve services and provide incentives to customers, citing examples of transporting people to and from vaccination centers at discounted rates, television Al Ekhbariya reported.

The female drivers also pick up customers to take them to other regions and provinces across the kingdom, especially to Riyadh and Dammam. Their customers include the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, as the Al-Ahsa region is close to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Bahrain.

In 2018, for the first time in history, the kingdom allowed females to drive, ending a decades-old ban on women’s driving.

In June this year, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced that girls who have attained the age of 17 years can obtain a driving permit for vehicles, just like their male peers.

In another step to promote women’s empowerment, Saudi authorities have allowed women to travel without guardian approval and apply for a passport, easing long-standing restrictions on them.

These steps are taken as part of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision 2030 plan to diversify the country’s economy. One of the goals of the program is to increase women’s participation in the labor force to 30 per cent, a goal the Kingdom claims has now been achieved.