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.


Saudi Cabinet voices support for the territorial sovereignty of Cyprus

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session on Tuesday. The meeting reviewed the Kingdom’s economic progress. (SPA)
Updated 22 January 2020

Saudi Cabinet voices support for the territorial sovereignty of Cyprus

  • Kingdom calls for security to be maintained in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has voiced its support for Cyprus’ territorial sovereignty amid growing tensions following the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Saudi Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, on Tuesday said it was watching developments in the eastern Mediterranean “with great interest,” and called for security and stability to be maintained in the region.
The Cabinet also reviewed the Kingdom’s progress among 190 economies in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, which placed it first among GCC countries and second in the Arab world on legislative reforms relating to women.
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program supports the implementation of reforms that enhance women’s role in economic development, raising the Kingdom’s competitiveness regionally and globally.
Minister of Media Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah said the Cabinet reviewed several reports on developments in regional and international arenas.
The Cabinet reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion during the fourth session of the Arab Parliament in Cairo that its policy is based on the principles of peaceful coexistence and good neighborliness, full respect for the sovereignty and independence of states, noninterference in their internal affairs, and its belief that these principles are capable of resolving all conflicts, foremost the Arab-Israeli conflict.

HIGHLIGHT

The Cabinet reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions.

The Cabinet also reviewed efforts to promote political solutions to crises in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Sudan, calling on all to take action to address destabilizing foreign threats and interventions and to “move forward toward the aspirations of security, stability and development of Arab countries and their peoples.”
On regional affairs, the Cabinet condemned an attack on a military site in Niger, the bombing of a security checkpoint and a tax collection center in Somalia, and the terrorist strike by Houthi militia on a mosque in the Marib governorate, which resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries.
The Cabinet session also authorized the minister of foreign affairs or his deputy to sign a draft protocol on establishing diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe.
An agreement on social development between the the Kingdom and Tunisia was also approved along with a memorandum of understanding for scientific and technical cooperation with Spain.
The Cabinet also approved an agreement for scientific and geological cooperation between the Saudi Geological Survey and the Russian State Geological Company.