The Transport Ministry has rejected accusations about cases of harassment allegedly made by Saudi drivers working in taxis, specializing in transporting women. The ministry stated that it has not received complaints of harassment from these women.
Instead, it pointed the finger at limousine companies called “Taxi by rent,” stating that the owners of these companies have already committed many violations and clarified that it is difficult to retrieve the rights of their customers or even to redress complaints and harassment.
General Manager of the Ministry’s Passenger Transport Administration, Mueidh Aal Saeed, recognized that the rights of female passengers using these limousine cars may have been compromised while being subjected to harassment by these drivers. He added, however, that some companies have service centers that receive these types of customer complaints.
Co-founder and CEO of Kareem Company, Dr. Abdullah Elias, said that there are special characteristics provided by the company before the journey and during it. He said before the journey, they ask for documentation of every driver and the work team. Elias added that his company has offices all over the Kingdom to train drivers and to verify their cars and fingerprints before they start work. He added that there is cooperation with the security authorities about the data of car trips and drivers. He also noted that there is an electronic link with the Elm Company which gives immediate warnings if there is a notice listed in the Criminal Newspaper of any vehicle or car driver having been involved in violations of the law.
Elias also revealed that during the journey, the client can verify the identity of the driver through a special phone number, photo and car features at the front of the car and at the back. “We don’t provide the phone number of the client to the driver in order protect the client. Furthermore, the friends of the client can follow up on the car journey through a special link,” he said.
He assured the public that the Kareem company is distinguished through the use of a unified number to receive client calls on a 24-hour basis, and to provide the necessary help even on Eid and other official holidays. Clients can also report complaints through e-mail.
Lawyer Bayan Zahran confirmed that harassment cases are considered criminal offences and involve two criminal procedures: To report the case if it occurrs in the workplace (because the employee reported would have overstepped his professional duty and ethics obligations), and to pursue the application of legal penalties through the police. The case then goes to the Investigation and Prosecution Authority for further investigation and a court ruling.