Saudi Arabia: Women will now be allowed to apply to drive taxis
Nearly four years after the historic decision to allow women to drive, the Saudi General Directorate of Traffic has announced that women will now be allowed to drive taxis and become taxi drivers. The statement said that women could apply for a general taxi license at any of the 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 Saudi Riyal 200 (Rs 3,959), the traffic department said. On September 27, 2017, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia announced that he would allow women to drive in the country. The permit came into effect on June 24, 2019. Driving licenses are issued to persons of 18 years of age and above.
Since the right to drive was granted in 2017, a number of careers in transportation have opened up to Saudi women, including driving trains, planes, and even racing cars. This ruling also allowed women to work as drivers for ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem.
This includes the first Saudi female racing driver, Rima Al-Juffali, who is the only woman in the kingdom to hold a racing license. Juffali, who races in the Formula 4 series, got her license the same year, as widespread feminist agitation ended the ban on women driving. She was also one of the drivers who opened Saudi Arabia’s first FIA-certified Grand Prix circuit, Jeddah Corniche, in December.
The country in recent years adopted several reforms to empower women, including ensuring that women can drive cars, enter playgroups and stadiums, and pursue occupations that were previously accessible only to men.
After the transition to allow Saudi women to travel in the kingdom, from 2019 onwards Saudi Arabian women can also travel abroad without permission and may apply for their passports, ID documents and all official registrations directly without requiring a male guardian (mahram).
In February 2021, Saudi Arabia opened up military posts for women for the first time which allowed them to report through a unified portal. In a first, Saudi female officers were allowed to guard Islam’s holiest site not just that the women were allowed driving license, and even elected to councils, and so on.