Female Uber Drivers In Saudi Arabia Can Now Choose To Exclusively Pick Up Women
Photo Credit: Photo: Mark Warner

Female Uber Drivers In Saudi Arabia Can Now Choose To Exclusively Pick Up Women

In June, Saudi Arabia lifted its female driving ban, giving women a little more freedom to move around the country. Ride-hailing services like Uber quickly jumped on the new opportunity to have female drivers navigate the city.

However, Uber gained feedback showing that Saudi women Uber drivers preferred to only drive women. In response, Uber launched a pilot program allowing them to do so. That program has now gone live across the country today, according to Engadget.

Preferences of women only wanting to drive other women come as no surprise. Ride-hailing apps are no strangers to incidents of women passengers and drivers being harassed and assaulted.

This year, Saudi women have seen slight improvements within the country.  In January, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced that women would be notified about marital status changes via text message. The recent move was meant to offset the trend of men separating from their wives without telling them.

Despite interventions aimed at helping women, tech companies and government agencies have created other hurdles for Saudi women. Absher, a Saudi Arabian app, received backlash earlier this year because it allows men to track their female relatives. Male users can receive SMS alerts when women use their passports and get information on their government documents.

In response, fourteen members of Congress called on Apple and Google to remove Absher; however, Google said that the app did not violate any of its rules and would remain in the Google Play store.

Uber’s seemingly small feature can have a big impact on the safety of Saudi women driving and riding with the company. The company has no current plans of expanding it globally, according to Engadget.