JEDDAH: Less than four years after being given the right to drive, Saudi women have been told they can now also apply to become cabbies.
The news was announced by the Saudi General Directorate of Traffic via its Twitter account @eMoroor. The statement said that women could apply for a “general taxi license” at any of 18 driving schools in cities across the Kingdom, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Jazan, Asir, Najran, Jouf, Hail and Taif.
The cost for applying for a license is SR200 ($53), the department said.
Artist Latifah Al-Shalhoub told Arab News she supported the announcement.
“As a female, I always had an issue with this topic. I never felt comfortable riding in a taxi on my own with a male driver. At least with Uber and Careem you get some information about the driver before you get in,” she said.
“Most taxi drivers around the world are men, but you do see women drivers in some countries. It is definitely more comfortable to ride with a female driver than a male.”
Translator Aseel Atif said the announcement would give women more options in the jobs market.
“I think this news will help many women find a career,” she said, adding that she might consider it for herself.
“I love driving, so I wouldn’t mind being a taxi driver.”
Since being granted the right to drive in 2018, a number of careers in the transportation field have opened up to Saudi women, including driving trains, flying planes and even racing cars. That ruling also allowed women to work as drivers for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem.