Ride-sharing app reveals first move to take advantage of lifting of driving ban for Saudi women
Ride-sharing app Uber Technologies will launch a dedicated “female partner support centre” in Saudi Arabia to enable women to join the company, following the kingdom’s announcement that women will be allowed to drive next year.
“We’re proud to have been able to provide extraordinary mobility for women in Saudi Arabia, and are excited by the economic opportunities this change could represent for them,” said Pierre Dimitri Gore-Coty, vice president for Uber, and head of operations at Uber.
The centre, he added, will be a "one stop shop where we will partner with will partner up with the necessary stakeholders to facilitate the paperwork, training and access to vehicles, including being able to access a driving school run by third party government partners".
In an interview in Riyadh earlier this week, Gore-Goty said that the process of signing up female drivers will begin “shortly” before they can apply for driver’s licenses, which is expected to take place in June 2018.
While Uber will likely increase its pool of eligible drivers, it may face decreasing demand for its ride-sharing platform. Approximately 80 percent of the company’s rides in Saudi Arabia are taken by women.
In June 2016, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund acquired a $3.5 billion stake in Uber, making the country’s sovereign wealth fund the largest investor in the company.