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

A file photo shows a Saudi woman driving her car along a street in the Saudi coastal city of Jeddah on Sept. 27. (AFP)
Updated 05 October 2017
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Saudi women to drive female students to school, work in car rental, says transport chief

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.”


A jubilant Saudi Arabia celebrates its past, present … and future

Updated 24 September 2018
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A jubilant Saudi Arabia celebrates its past, present … and future

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said National Day is an opportunity to recall the achievements of the country’s founder
  • Saudi Arabia’s friends around the world outdid themselves in expressing their wishes to the Kingdom

RIYADH/JEDDAH/DUBAI:  It was a day that captured the heightened spirit of a nation.

In a year of remarkable changes, Saudi National Day on Sunday took on an exuberance like no other celebration before it, with enough fireworks to break a world record, people celebrating together outdoors across the land and landmarks around the world illuminated with the flag. 

In a speech marking the Kingdom’s 88th National Day, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman praised the nation’s growth under King Salman, saying that while Vision 2030 “looks forward to the future,” Saudi Arabia “will remain committed to the principles” of Islam, “the religion of tolerance and moderation.”

The crown prince said National Day is an opportunity to recall the achievements of the country’s founder, King Abdul Aziz, and his sons. “On our National Day, we take pride in our country’s position on an international, Islamic and Arab level.” 

His sentiments were echoed by citizens, who gathered last night in 20 cities to watch more than 900,000 fireworks light up the sky.

Laser light show at a Jeddah stadium Sunday night as part of National Day celebrations. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

“I am so happy with all the changes going on under the visionary leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Saudi women are happy to join the National Day parades, this year behind the wheel,” said Saudi actor and presenter Khairiah Abu Laban.

“We went around the city to see the lighting and the fireworks,” said Saleh Al-Omri, a pharmacist in Riyadh. “Green and white balloons fill either side of Riyadh streets.”

Saudi Arabia’s friends around the world outdid themselves in expressing their wishes to the Kingdom over the weekend, culminating on the day. 

The Burj Khalifa was illuminated with the Saudi flag, while the Nasdaq Tower’s digital billboard in New York’s Times Square was lit up with photos of King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the flags of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

In Lebanon, Pigeon Rocks, in Raouché off the coast of Beirut, were lit in the colors of the Saudi flag. 

The UAE’s airlines got in on the game. Emirates operated a special one-off A380 service on Sunday to Riyadh, and crew handed out scarves emblazoned with the countries’ flags.

Not to be outdone, Etihad said it was using the only Saudi A380 pilot in the world, Wesam Sameer Al-Najjar, to fly its Year of Zayed plane to Jeddah with the UAE’s Captain Ahmed Almalood. 

And if all that wasn’t enough, King Salman added an extra day, Monday, to the holiday.

Air show by the Saudi Royal Air Force in Jeddah in celebration of National Day. (SPA)