Disappearing traditional taxis aren’t just a thing in the states; Uber is putting the pedal to the metal in Saudi Arabia and the projected profit for the next 15 years is pretty impressive.
According to an Uber spokesperson, Uber drivers give lifts to an average of 75 million riders a month; that translates to 1 million riders in Saudi Arabia in the last 3 months. While Saudi Arabia is keeping pace with the rest of the world and its Uber love, what sets the Saudi market apart is the status of its women drivers.
It’s been almost a year since the decree to allow women to obtain a driver’s permit was made, and it’s only been two months since it became official. In Saudi Arabia women generally must obtain permission from their male guardians before conducting certain transactions, so the right to drive is a big deal. The right to Uber drive is monumental.
Not unaware of difference in the ride share market between Saudi Arabia and other parts of the world, Uber has created a special division for its Saudi women drivers, “Masaruky” (meaning ‘your path’ in Arabic). This division includes plans for a women’s support center, as well as the ability for women drivers to connect exclusively with women riders if preferred (or necessary).
Uber isn’t unaware of the challenges of this new cultural terrain that they must navigate. In many ways the very concept of female Uber drivers in Saudi Arabia is just as ground breaking as the Saudi women’s newfound right to drive. If handled well, Uber stands to earn a mint and generate $90 billion in the region by 2030.