Saudi women may be able to drive taxis from June

Regulation is being prepared but women could be restricted in terms of their passengers



Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority (PTA) is preparing rules and regulations that could allow women to drive taxis when a driving ban is lifted in June.

Monarch King Salman announced a historic decree last September instructing the government to take the necessary steps to allow women to drive by June 24, 2018.

Read: Saudi women to be allowed to drive from age 18

Since then steps have been taken to set up driving schools, with some women even travelling abroad to obtain driving licences, but it has been unclear if women would be able to work as professional drivers immediately.

Read: Saudi women have spent $3.1m to obtain driving licences abroad

Read: Saudi women to be allowed to drive trucks, motorbike

Saudi Gazette cited PTA chairman Rumaih Al-Rumaih as saying the authority was working on regulation to allow women to drive taxis but only to transport female passengers.

Ride hailing service Careem has already announced plans to hire 10,000 female drivers in the kingdom but they would not be able to operate unless the appropriate regulation is in place.

PTA spokesperson Abdullah Al-Mutairi said the same regulation governing men who work in transportation would be applicable to women.

A survey conducted just after plans to lift the ban were announced revealed that more than four in five women in Saudi Arabia plan to drive.

However, an even higher percentage (92 per cent) said they expected to reduce their reliance on taxis and services like Uber and 80 per cent of those intending to drive expected to reduce their dependency on drivers.

Read: Study reveals 82% of Saudi women plan to drive