Hijabi Women Drive Fast Trains To Mecca As The Workforce Changes

source by: Amer HILABI / AFP

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Driver Tharaa Ali takes the wheel of a high-speed train transporting pilgrims to Mecca, a benefit of Saudi Arabia’s conservative effort to engage its burgeoning female workforce.

Ali, a 25-year-old native of Jeddah, was unable to drive until Saudi women were granted the opportunity to do so in 2018, and before to that, her transportation experience was restricted to driving the family automobile around her hometown.

Last year, she was one of 28,000 applicants vying for 32 positions for women drivers on the Haramain High Speed Railway, which travels the 450-kilometer (280-mile) route between Mecca and Medina at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour (186 miles per hour).