It’s time to Saudize Uber and Careem

February 24, 2017
Maysoon Abu Bakr
Maysoon Abu Bakr

By Maysoon Abu Bakr

I HAVE recently used Uber on several occasions. I do not have an expatriate driver because some of them cannot be trusted and may, all of a sudden, decide to return to their home countries. I do not have a driver because I do not want to be a slave to their whims. In fact, many Saudis today are slaves to the whims of expatriate workers because they do not have another choice.

A large number of Saudis work with Uber and Careem because they cannot find jobs, even though most of them have college degrees. They earn a good amount at the end of the month. Uber and Careem have made the life of many, especially women, easier. All you need to do is download the application and call a driver and he will come to your location in a few minutes. When you reach your destination, the cost of the journey will be sent to you in an SMS message.

It is good to see young Saudi men working with Uber and Careem. The image of Saudi drivers has changed a lot. Many who use Uber or Careem prefer Saudi drivers because it is easier to talk to them, plus they keeps their cars clean all the time. A large number of expatriate drivers do not do this.

Moreover, expatriate workers sometimes take advantage of women. I have had negative experiences with expatriate drivers. A driver once asked me to pay triple the amount. I filed a complaint against him with the company. I would have paid what he wanted if he had not taken advantage of me because I was a woman.

I hope the authorities will succeed in Saudizing Uber and Careem the way they have been successful in Saudizing the telecom sector. Saudization policies have been successful thanks to the cooperation and coordination of all concerned authorities. Saudizing the telecom sector has helped the authorities identify many expatriate workers who were in the Kingdom illegally and who could have posed economic, security and social dangers to society.

It is hoped that the authorities will Saudize all taxis in the near future. For this to be successful, there should be enough Saudis who are able to replace foreign taxi drivers. Saudis do not need training to take on such jobs because the majority of them are good at driving. They might need training on how to treat and deal with passengers and keep their vehicles clean, something that is important to project a positive image of the Kingdom.

Saudi youth have proved themselves in many fields. As a society, we should encourage them to take on jobs that allow them to earn well. This would help reduce the number of expatriates in the Kingdom.

February 24, 2017