Expatriate women training new Saudi women drivers

Published:  27 Nov at 6 PM
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Due to the lack of available driving schools in the Saudi city of Madinah, female expat drivers are taking over the task of training their Saudi counterparts.

A good number of Saudi women in Madinah and other Saudi cities where there are no official driving schools are now turning to expat females to teach them how to drive. When it became apparent no help would be offered by the local authorities, foreign women drivers stepped up and are giving driving lessons for approximately SR30 an hour or around SR1,500 for a month’s lessons. Once they’d realised there was a gap in the market for their expertise, the foreign instructors advertised their services on social media and were more than pleased with the response.

One Saudi woman desperate to learn to drive told reporters her experience with Saudi instructors had left her wondering whether she’d ever be able to use her new-found freedom. She’d phoned and emailed one so-called driving school without getting any response, and another said there wasn’t a driving school for women in the city where she lived. A third would-be Saudi female driver said she’d waited over five months for a reply from a local driving school, even although a full years has gone by since women won the right to drive.

Many of the unofficial expat female driving instructors don’t even have Saudi driving licenses themselves, but are happy to earn a little extra by teaching their skills to Saudi women. The few official driving schools have entry requirements including knowing the basics of driving a car, having a driving license from another country, proving they have had at least secondary school education, having no criminal charges against them and being between the ages of 22 and 40 years. Under these circumstances it’s no surprise Saudi women prefer to use the services of their foreign counterparts to help them get their coveted driving licenses.
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