Saudi Women Driving Solution

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Saudi Women Driving Solution

Women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia and those without a mahram (male guardian) or driver to take them around will tell you they can count on online transportation company drivers who are available at any time for them.

“Uber is my mahram. I know it sounds funny but ironically it is there when I need it, very safe,” Arwa Ibrahim, a Saudi physician, told Saudi Gazette.
The apps are recognized to be a source of empowerment for women.

Uber and Careem — the private cab companies — have taken over the Saudi market and are now an unstoppable force.

Both car apps are a more acceptable mode of transport for women and are a lot safer than public taxis.

“My father won’t take me back and forth to work. Nor does he allow any of my sisters to use public taxis. It is only because of Uber that I can actually commute to work, which means it is the reason I am able to sustain a job and income,” said Salma Rashid, a 26-year-old saleswoman in Jeddah.

You can download the app and use it at any time of the day to get a ride. You choose the kind of car you want and pay in cash or by card.

“I live in a compound, so I can’t find taxis easily. I have to go walking with my baby for 20 minutes in the heat and then wait for a cab. It is ridiculous. I work but I cannot afford a car and a driver to be with me 24/7. There have been times when I need to visit a hospital or pharmacy, but my husband works in the industrial area so there is no way he will be available when I need him. For me, Uber is more reliable and I count on it more than my husband because I don’t need to wait or beg him or even expect him to be around when my family is in need. It’s sad but it is true,” said Najma Abbas, a Jordanian national.

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Due to a lack of other public transport facilities, women prefer Uber and Careem that offer competitive rates to customers. Most women also said using the apps are cheaper than public taxis and more reliable to use especially late at night.

“It is so much safer than cabs. I finish work at 10 p.m. I can’t just jump into a cab and leave. I will definitely have boys chase me and it’s just an uncomfortable experience. Uber comes to my doorstep and it’s a regular car so people don’t assume it is public transport and I never have guys chasing me in their cars now. It is a great asset safety wise,” Sana Arshad, an Indian expat, told Saudi Gazette.

Most of Uber and Careem users are women, many drivers told us.

“Most of my customers are women who don’t have drivers and prefer us over public taxis,” said Nimfraz Siraj, a Sri Lankan driver in Jeddah.

“With Careem I have the guy’s name, contact number, car plate number. I can share it with my family or friends in case of anything. But with public taxis I don’t trust them,” said Lama Abdullah, a 25-year-old photographer in Riyadh.


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