RIYADH: Car rental companies, businesses and Saudi families are looking to hire female drivers from overseas in the wake of King Salman’s decree last week allowing women to drive.
“The hiring of women expatriate drivers, if the regulatory provisions of the government allow, will go a long way in improving public transport and the conveyance of women and children,” said Alam Razak, an agent with Arafat Recruitment in Jeddah.
“The recruitment agencies and business houses are waiting for the new regulations, which are to be released within a few months.”
But in general, he said, “permission for women to drive will cut reliance on foreign drivers in Saudi Arabia, whose number currently exceeds 1.3 million.”
Abdullah Elias, co-founder and chief executive of the car-booking app Careem, said he expected business to flourish. “The decision will not affect major rent-a-car companies or international companies like Careem,” he said. Careem is reported to be planning to hire 100,000 female staff to capture a new market segment in the Kingdom.
“Another good aspect of it is that now perhaps expert women drivers from abroad can also be hired for families to pick up and drop off girls at schools and universities,” the prominent Islamic scholar and social worker Hussain Zulkarnain said.
“Far better than male ones, as these ladies can live inside the house and also help in household chores without the need to hire separate maids.” Many Saudi families will hire female drivers from abroad, especially from traditional labor-exporting countries, he said.
Nora Al-Hamdan, a Saudi businesswoman, said the environment would soon become female-friendly, once women started driving. “While there is a long way to go, improvements are being made every day,” she said.
Madiha Shunan, a Pakistani teacher, predicted safer roads. “It is important to note that women are better drivers than men, which has been proved by many surveys,” she said.

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