Saudi Arabia stands to benefit a lot more from giving their women the independence of driving than they might have bargained. I guess it’s true what they say, educate (in this case free) a woman and you educate (free) an entire nation.
Before the Saudi women were allowed to drive, each family had to employ a driver to help the women in the family get around; shopping, picking up the kids as well as going about their personal businesses during the day. With them being free to drive now, this may soon be unnecessary.
As we stand, Saudi Arabia has an approximate of 800,000 private drivers, most of whom are foreign.
These are just the ones hired to drive families meaning if you count the corporately hired drivers the number goes up by quite a fraction.
According to Al Arabiya news, each family that employs a private driver spends 15,000 Riyals per year which covers recruitment costs, visa, driving license, accommodation, vehicle insurance, medical insurance and of course food. The family then pays the driver 2000 Riyals per month which is 24,000 per year. This means each family spends 34,000 Riyals on a private driver each year.
Once the freedom takes effect, and women can now drive themselves, they will not need to hire these drivers saving them, and the economy at large, a hefty amount of money per year; an approximated 14 million Riyals per year to be exact.
This freedom is also bound to reflect on the car market as well since the ladies will want to buy a car that best fits their tastes.
Last year alone, the sales shot up to more than 670,000 cars of which Toyota enjoyed a 32% sales increase while Hyundai saw a 24% increase in sales. If this is anything to go by, the market is bound to explode this year.