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27 May, 2005

Scabby cabbies

The Emirates Economist links to a fascinating article about Saudisation in the taxi industry. Saudi men are having to disguise themselves as Asian expats to attract female passengers, because Saudi women don't want to be driven by their compatriots:

"Some said Saudi taxi drivers are more prone to propositioning their female customers, playing romantic music and acting "cute."

"I avoid using taxis with Saudi drivers," said Ola Nasser. "That’s because of the ogling they do in the mirror. They think you are loose and out there for the taking just because you are taking a taxi."

The problem is exacerbated the by the fact that Saudi cabbies are more likely to get away with offensive behaviour than expat drivers:

"When my friends and I used to take taxis home from the university, we’d only choose a non-Saudi,” said Rowa Ziyad, a graduate of King Abdul Aziz University. “We’d note the taxi number should we need to complain. If the driver was Saudi and anything bad happened, we would have less chance of getting anything done about it. There is a reluctance to prosecute Saudis rather than non-Saudis."

Most interesting is the generational shift in behaviour noted by Saudi men themselves. Retired Saudi taxi driver Abu Abdul Aziz says that in his day, passengers were treated with respect, as though they were the driver's own sisters, mothers and daughters:

"Now brothers, husbands and father do not even treat their own kin properly no wonder they mistreat other people’s women folk."



Blogger AkaRound Peg said...

Can a woman in Saudi travel in a taxi without a male escort?

In Oman, Omani women tell me they prefer stores that have non-Omani sales personnel for the same reasons you mention.

07 June, 2005 11:35  
Blogger Emirati said...

Yes peg, since they have male drivers over there then it is allowed for single women to travel with taxis.

Typical Saudi Government Stupidity, they let the women travel with other men, but dont allow the women to drive on their own where theres less likely to be a violation of their Wahhabist Islamic "Sharia" Law.

09 June, 2005 15:34  

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