DAMMAM — The overly crowded driving schools for women caused a new black market to emerge with places for training costing up to SR10,000, Al-Watan newspaper reported.
Head of the Sataqoudi Association Fatima Al-Mohsen said she founded the association to teach women driving.
“I began hearing women complain about the high costs of learning how to drive. I was shocked to learn that there are women who got their driving license from outside the Kingdom and came back to offer their services as driving instructors,” said Al-Mohsen.
She said these women were not qualified and were not licensed to teach driving.
“I heard of some of them charging SR150 per hour. Some learners have even paid up to SR2,000 to learn how to drive from an unaccredited instructor. I only charge my clients when they are with a licensed and qualified instructor. I have women who volunteer to become instructors but the client is then not charged,” said Al-Mohsen.
Zahraa Abdullah said she had been scammed by a fake social media account, which promised to guarantee her a place at the local driving school.
“We contacted the office, which claimed on social media that it can get us appointments at the driving school as getting appointments through the regular procedure took months. The office asked me to deposit SR1,500 to commence the process. I paid the amount and two weeks later they asked for SR2,500 to confirm the date. It’s been three months and I have not received any notification of a date,” said Abdullah.
Others have paid up to SR10,000 to get a license. They would go to Bahrain to get their license. Bahrain driving schools require a proof of residency, therefore many are buying temporary residency contracts that reach up to SR3,000 to SR5,000. They then pay SR1,500 for training hours and an additional SR700 for the driving test.
In response, Bahrain repealed the condition to have proof of residency for Saudis wishing to train at the country’s driving schools.