Uber and Careem recruit first female drivers in Saudi Arabia

Ride hailing applications in Saudi Arabia are preparing to hire Saudi female chauffeurs, months ahead of lifting the ban that prevents women from driving or issuing driving licenses in the country.

Dubai (CNN)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.