Saudi employee Ibtesam al-Anazi always had a hard time getting to and from work due to transportation costs that placed a dent on her salary.
“The only choice I had before was a personal driver, public transportation or by (ride-hailing) applications that were taking a huge amount of my salary,” she said.
Once she got introduced to the Wusool program, which covers 80 percent of transportation costs of working women, her problem was solved.
Launched in 2017 by the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), a Saudi governmental authority under the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, the program provides women with safe transportation services to and from their place of work, using licensed taxis.
When booking a taxi via a ride-hailing application, registered Wusool program members have the option to select ‘Wusool,’ and will be billed only 20 percent of the ride's original price.
It comes as part of a wider government incentives scheme aimed at increasing female participation in the workforce under the 2030 vision announced by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, which detailed a set of economic and social policies designed to reduce the kingdom's reliance on oil exports.
More than 90,000 Saudi women working in the private sector have benefitted from the program so far, enabling programs manager at the HRDF, Nouf al-Qahtani, told Reuters.
“Speaking by today's numbers the percentage of Saudi women in the labor force has increased from 19 percent in 2017 to 31 percent at the end of the first quarter 2021,” she added.
Nima al-Anazi who has been using the service provided by the Wusool program for a while now said that it has played a role in encouraging Saudi women to join the job market.
“I see it as one of the easiest applications that encourages Saudi women to join the job market or find a public job.”