Uber, Careem recruit female drivers in Saudi
 
, Posted on 12-Jan-2018


Uber, Careem recruit female drivers in Saudi

Dubai : Ride hailing applications in Saudi Arabia are recruiting female drivers, after the Kingdom announced plans to lift the ban on women driving by June 2018.

Female customers currently represent 80% of Uber’s Saudi rider base and 70% of business for its Dubai-based counterpart, Careem, according to statistics shared with CNN by both companies. The apps are a lifeline to women with no independent way to get around the Kingdom.

Currently, all drivers employed by the two firms are male -- mostly Saudi nationals driving their privately-owned vehicles.

Following the ground-breaking royal decree that announced plans to lift the ban on women driving last September, however, both companies have been preparing to hire their first female drivers.

 

Hundreds of women already certified

After the decree was issued, the company launched a series of 90-minute training sessions, in the Saudi cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Al Khobar, targeting Saudi women who have already acquired valid driving licenses while abroad.

Careem operates in 13 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan and is valued at around $1 billion.

Taught by existing female Saudi employees of Careem (working in administration roles, not as drivers), the sessions educate attendees about Saudi road laws, customer service techniques, and how to use the application’s platform.

“From the first moment, we announced our willingness to welcome the ladies to work on our platform,” says Abdullah Elyas, co-founder and chief privacy officer at Careem, over email.

Careem has already received thousands of applications from Saudi women interested in becoming drivers, Elyas says. Those who complete the training sessions receive a certificate which acts as a guarantee that they have officially joined Careem’s team, bar any changes to Saudi traffic laws, says Careem’s public relations manager, Murtadha Alalawi.

Uber, meanwhile, has announced plans to open “one-stop-shop” facilities dedicated to recruiting future female drivers, or “partners”, as the company calls them. These Green Light Hubs already exist in the country to serve male employees.

“We will partner up with necessary stakeholders to facilitate the paperwork, training access, and access to vehicles, including access to driving schools run by third party partners,” says Zeid Hreish, Uber’s general manager in Saudi Arabia.

Hreish adds that Uber has also launched “listening sessions” for women in Riyadh, which have been attended by a number of influential figures including the company’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. The sessions are aimed at “shaping the company’s priorities and upcoming plans for women in the Kingdom,” and have addressed topics such as problems women could face when driving.

 

At least 10,000 female drivers by June

Careem plans to hire more than 10,000 “female captains” -- drivers -- by June 2018, says Elyas.

“Female captains will help us provide a better service to many women who want to travel but refuse to be driven by men,” he says. Many women from conservative backgrounds currently do not use ride hailing apps, as being driven by an unknown male is unacceptable in their culture.

“This means that a new segment of Saudi society that does not use our services will begin (to use it) next
June.”

“The first thing that made me think about working for Careem was our great need to drive,” says Alawwami. “As women in Saudi, we need a man for our smallest commuting needs, and the local taxi service is not sufficiently available where I live.”

Alawwami got her driving license while studying in the United Arab Emirates.

“Ride hailing applications have helped us a lot,” she says. “I want to be there to help when someone is in need of a lift, and it is a beautiful feeling to be among the first female captains in my country.”

The mother-of-one says that her husband and family never opposed women being allowed to drive. She believes that “the announcement of the government’s plan to lift the ban has caused many of those who said they opposed females driving to become supportive of it overnight.” 

CNN


Related News

Duterte STOPS sending workers to Kuwait
Jan 20

Duterte STOPS sending workers to Kuwait

Manila : The Philippines suspended sending workers to Kuwait yesterday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte said abuse by employers there had driven several domestic helpers to suicide. Kuwait expressed surprise at the move and said it was in touch with Manila to try to resolve the issue. Philippine...

Read More
In Oman, an ancient mediation receives a makeover
Jan 20

In Oman, an ancient mediation receives a makeover

Omani Mahmoud bin Yousef Temtemi found himself in a pastoral predicament this autumn -- his neighbour’s flock of sheep had overrun his farm and gobbled up his crops, threatening his income. Rather than make a scene or turn to the police, Temtemi chose to raise his complaint in Omani tradition: through the local...

Read More
Putin takes icy plunge
Jan 20

Putin takes icy plunge

Moscow : Russian President Vladimir Putin along with millions of Orthodox believers braved freezing temperatures to take a barechested plunge into icy water in a traditional ritual marking the baptism of Jesus. Surrounded by Orthodox priests and glittering religious icons, and with the temperature hovering...

Read More
Melted nuclear fuel seen  inside Fukushima reactor
Jan 20

Melted nuclear fuel seen inside Fukushima reactor

Tokyo : The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant says a long telescopic probe has successfully captured images of some melted fuel inside one of its three damaged reactors, providing crucial information for its cleanup. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday the fishing rod-like device...

Read More
Jeddah Tower works get a  $165m boost
Jan 20

Jeddah Tower works get a $165m boost

Dubai : The world’s tallest skyscraper in Jeddah will soon begin its infrastructure works with the signing of a 620 million riyal ($165 million) contract by real estate developers.  Once completed, the massive mixed-use tower will rise over a kilometre (3,281 feet) dwarfing the Burj Khalifa, which is...

Read More
UNRWA cries foul over US aid denial
Jan 20

UNRWA cries foul over US aid denial

Jerusalem : The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinians said yesterday the US decision to freeze of tens of millions of dollars in aid resulted from diplomatic disputes rather than the agency’s performance. The US State Department this week froze two planned payments worth more than $100 million...

Read More
Iraqi president vowes full support for war on terror
Jan 19

Iraqi president vowes full support for war on terror

Baghdad : Iraqi President yesterday vowed full support and solidarity for Arab nations in the ongoing fight against terrorism.  Acknowledging the efforts exerted to bring peace in the region, Fuad Masum said, “Iraq is continuing its efforts to fight terrorism, dry up its sources and confront all...

Read More
Giant lift removes skidded plane
Jan 19

Giant lift removes skidded plane

Trabzon : Turkish authorities are using a large crane to lift a passenger plane that skidded off a runway in northern Turkey and stopped on the side of a slope just meters away from the Black Sea. The Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800, with 168 people on board, overshot the runway while landing at Trabzon Airport...

Read More
UAE jets destroy Houthi command centre
Jan 19

UAE jets destroy Houthi command centre

Hais, Yemen : UAE jets have destroyed a Houthi militia command and communication centre in western Yemen. The aircraft struck the “strategically located” base that was used to store weapons and ammunitions in Hais district of Taiz province, the UAE state new agency WAM reported. Hais is about 15...

Read More
 Saudi King orders to deposit $ 2 billion in CBY
Jan 17

Saudi King orders to deposit $ 2 billion in CBY

Riyadh : Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has issued a directive to transfer a $2 billion deposit to the Central Bank of Yemen, in continuation of the Kingdom’s support of the Yemeni people, taking the total amount given by the Kingdom to the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY) to $3...

Read More