Saudi women have spent $3.1m on obtaining driving licences from the UAE, Bahrain and Jordan in the build-up to the lifting of the kingdom’s female driving ban next year, according to reports.
Arabic publication Al-Watan cited sources as confirming the figures, which is derived from an estimated fee of SAR1,540 ($411) for each of the 7,550 licences issued in the countries.
Women are generally required to attend more than 22 hours of training courses and pass tests before obtaining licences the UAE, Bahrain and Jordan.
Reports last month suggested travel agents were taking advantage of the desire by women to be ready for the lifting of the ban by June 24 next year.
Driving schools in the kingdom will not begin accepting women until March, according to local reports.
Al-Watan said agencies in Jeddah were offering five-day packages with air tickets, accommodation and several hours of lessons to take advantage of domestic demand until then.
Under recent rule changes from Saudi’s Directorate General of Traffic, drivers must take 30 to 120 hours of lessons before taking a test to obtain a licence.
A survey released in October indicated more than four fifths of women in the kingdom plan to get behind the wheel when the ban is lifted.