Some drivers take advantage of women's desperation for transportation by demanding high salaries and then often failing to show up. (Twitter)
Khadija Muhammad works as a teacher at a school in a remote village, which means she and her colleagues have to spend several hours a day commuting from their city to the village. Several of her colleagues have died in tragic accidents on the highway.
"It is difficult for us to find drivers willing to drop us off at our remote school. Most drivers complain about the long distance and many drive fast and lose control on the road and end up having accidents that result in deaths," she said.
Soad Al-Harbi, also a teacher, said half of her SR3,400 ($900) salary is spent paying a driver who drives her to and from the school where she works. Sometimes, her driver fails to pick her up after school and she uses her colleague's driver.
"I can't deduct money for the days my driver fails to show up because I'm scared he will get angry and stop driving me to work. As women, we need drivers and we have to put up with all the trouble they cause us," said Al-Habri.
Weam H. teaches at a school on the outskirts of Madinah. She asked why there are no government-run transportation services for female teachers under the supervision of the Ministry of Education. She called on the government to provide teachers with buses and elderly drivers who are well-trained and responsible on highways.
"Most roads leading to remote schools have only few gas stations or mechanic shops. If a car breaks down, we have to wait for hours until it gets fixed or help comes. Another problem is that most rural roads do not have speed surveillance cameras and drivers usually travel at high speeds, putting at risk the lives of other road users," she said.
Amal B. agreed with Weam and said it is difficult to find a driver who does not drive recklessly and have cars that are well-maintained. She called on the Ministry of Education to solve teachers' transportation problems by providing transportation to all female teachers.
"Every time I get in the car with my driver, I feel scared because of the way he drives. Many teachers have lost their lives needlessly as a result of the recklessness of drivers," she noted.
Fedha Al-Anazi, a physiotherapist at Uhud Hospital in Madinah, said some drivers take advantage of women's desperation for transportation by demanding high salaries and then often failing to show up.
Dr. Ahlam Kurdi, adviser to the director general of Madinah Health Affairs, said there should be a government-supervised service that provides professional transportation services to female teachers, doctors and workers at reasonable prices.
Asked to comment, Saeed Al-Basami, deputy chairman of the National Committee of Transportation at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said authorities are working on finishing the main plans for public transportation inside cities. Currently, 30 percent of the public transportation project has been implemented in Riyadh while the projects for Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah and the Eastern Province are in the process of being awarded to contractors.