Saudi women want to drive — and fast

Saudi women want to drive — and fast
Updated 14 October 2017

Saudi women want to drive — and fast

Saudi women want to drive — and fast

LONDON: Most Saudi women want to hit the road —  and aim to start driving as quickly as possible.
An Arab News/YouGov poll of 503 KSA nationals found that 65 percent of Saudi women plan to apply for a license, three-fifths of whom want to do so as soon as the driving ban is lifted next year.
Close to a quarter of Saudi women have driven a car in another country, with 43 percent in possession of a license obtained outside KSA, the poll found.
Despite the eagerness for Saudi women to hit the road, analysts expect there to be some lag given the licensing requirements.
“It could potentially take a while for women to get the necessary driving lessons and go through the bureaucratic hurdles of getting a license in order to actually start driving,” said Tom Rogers, an economist at Oxford Economics specializing in Saudi Arabia.
Others pointed to the cultural adjustment as Saudi society incorporates the idea of women behind the wheel. 
“The implementation of these things takes time. It’s not just a matter of issuing driving licenses,” said Crispin Hawes, managing director for the Middle East and North Africa at Teneo Intelligence, a global advisory firm.
“The government decision is the easy part. Implementation, particularly on an issue that has been sensitive, may take much longer.”
A report by Frost & Sullivan estimated that up to 90,000 to 150,000 women would get driving licenses in Saudi Arabia annually — currently up to 400,000 are issued to men — and anticipated an initial surge in the numbers as women rush to pass the test.
The report also predicted an improvement in road safety across the Kingdom as a result of the decree, due to women replacing taxi drivers and sharing driving responsibilities with other family members.
The ban on issuing women driving licenses will be officially lifted in June 2018, allowing a nine-month period to iron-out issues that remain, such as whether male driving instructors will be able to teach female pupils.

• For full report and related articles please visit: #SaudiWomenCanDrivePoll