Private drivers cost Saudi families more than SR2 billion monthly

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DAMMAM - The Saudi families pay more than SR2 billion every month in salaries to their private drivers due to the absence of a network of public transport, Makkah daily reported on Monday quoting market specialists.

According to the Labor Market Magazine in its edition for the first quarter of 2017, there were about 1.38 million private drivers in the Kingdom out of 1.579 million male house helps.

There are 3.2 million Saudi families who are employing private drivers, according to the data of the General Authority for Statistics (GAS).

Under the current market prices, the monthly salary of a private driver is around SR1,500 so the families pay about SR2.07 billion every month as salaries for their drivers.

Sadoun Al-Sadoun, chairman of the transport committee of the Eastern Province's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, attributed the large number of the private drivers in the Kingdom to the absence of an integrated public transport system.

He said working women need transport to their work places and back home but as the fathers are busy, the women have to hire drivers to transport them.

"There is no comprehensive transport project covering all the important locations in every city. The ongoing public transport projects in the Kingdom need many years to complete," he said.

Sadoun proposed to start the public transport projects with new buses using special tracks to transport the working women until the other projects are completed.

Mohammed Al-Khinaizi, member of the Shoura Council, said transport is a big issue facing the Saudi families especially the working women.

"The recruitment of foreign drivers is very costly reaching between SR14,000 and SR20,000 sometimes so the drivers constitute financial burdens on the families," he said.

Khinaizi said the expat drivers also represent a burden on the Saudi economy with their annual remittances crossing the barrier of SR20 billion.

He said the opening of doors for the Saudi women to work both in the public and private sectors has made the seeking of help of a foreign driver a necessity not luxury.

Khinaizi called for a quick solution to the problem asking the employers to provide the working women with transport and to make the places of work near the women's homes.


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