Wanted: 20,000 Saudi taxi drivers (women especially welcome)

Saudi women take part in a training program for new female drivers at Careem, a chauffeur driven car booking service, at their Saudi offices in Khobar City. (AFP)
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Updated 09 January 2020

Wanted: 20,000 Saudi taxi drivers (women especially welcome)

  • The job had become particularly popular among women since the ban on them driving in the Kingdom was lifted in June 2018
  • ‘I got rid of the financial burden of hiring a driver, and now I drive pilgrims and visitors inside Makkah, which I enjoy’

MAKKAH: Saudi transport chiefs have launched a campaign to recruit 20,000 Saudi drivers to replace expatriates working for Uber, Careem and the Kingdom’s other taxi-app services.

The number of Saudis driving taxis had risen from 100,000 to more than 600,000 since 2016, and the sector was now ready for Saudization, Majed Al-Zahrani of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) told Arab News.

The job had become particularly popular among women since the ban on them driving in the Kingdom was lifted in June 2018, Al-Zahrani said. “The number of female Saudi drivers working at these applications has reached 2,000, and the number is rising because of the good income and the safe work environment,” he said.

The PTA and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development will work together to ensure the implementation of the Saudization regulations. Any driver found to be working illegally faces a fine of SR5,000 ($1,333).

The surge in the number of women driving taxis came as no surprise to Kariman Khaled Al-Ghamdi, who drives for Careem. “Saudi families constantly request women drivers,” she told Arab News.

Al-Ghamdi worked in human resources at a telecommunications company, retired at 46, and sought another job to boost her income. With driver’s licenses from the US and Kuwait as well as Saudi Arabia, and having lived abroad, she knew she was ideally suited to the work.

Jamilah Al-Mahmoudi, from Makkah, joined Uber seven months ago, and has never looked back. 

“I got rid of the financial burden of hiring a driver, and now I drive pilgrims and visitors inside Makkah, which I enjoy,” she said.


Dr. Kholood Mohamed, head of Tabuk’s regional council

Updated 23 min 50 sec ago

Dr. Kholood Mohamed, head of Tabuk’s regional council

Dr. Kholood Mohamed has become the first woman in the Kingdom to head Tabuk’s regional council, with the Saudi interior minister approving her appointment as the body’s secretary-general.
Al-Khamis called on Tabuk Gov. Prince Fahd bin Sultan on Monday and the prince congratulated her on her new position, emphasizing the role of Saudi women in government agencies.
She is an assistant professor of inorganic chemistry and supervisor of the chemistry department at the University of Tabuk.
She joined the university in 2010 as a teaching assistant in the science faculty, later becoming a lecturer and then being promoted to associate professor.
She did her doctorate in inorganic chemistry from Howard University in the US in 2018. She obtained her master’s degree from King Saud University in Riyadh and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Tabuk.
Al-Khamis is a member of several scientific bodies such as the Supreme Committee of Prince Fahd bin Sultan Award for Scientific Excellence, American Chemical Society, and the Committee for the National Olympiad for Scientific Creativity.
She has presented many research studies during her career, and participated locally and abroad in specialist activities in the science field.