“My driver brothers, my driver sisters. Your commitment to traffic regulations protects your life and the lives of others,” the signs read, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV channel reported on Saturday.
— صحيفة سبق الإلكترونية (@sabqorg) May 11, 2018
Women were banned from the roads in the conservative kingdom until September 2017, when King Salman of Saudi Arabia issued a historic decree, ordering that women be allowed to drive. The Saudi Department of Traffic later confirmed that women would also be allowed to drive bikes and trucks.
The date has already been set for the implementation of the reform – June 24 – with General Mohammed al-Bassami, director of the Department of Traffic, quoted as saying that “all the requirements for women to start driving have been established.”
In the meantime, a financial hurdle may prevent many women from learning how to drive. A large number of Saudi ladies took to Twitter in May to point out the disparity in driving-lesson costs for women and men. According to Gulf News, a Dubai-based English language newspaper, driving license fees for women could rise to 5,000 Saudi riyal (around $1,330). In contrast, men have to pay just 450 Saudi riyal ($120).
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, known by the catchy acronym MBS, was the one behind a series of ‘charm offensive’reforms in the ultraconservative nation. In addition to permitting women to drive, these also included allowing women to enter sports stadia, and opening the country’s first cinemas in a generation.