A Saudi woman drives her car along a street in Jeddah. Image Credit: AFP

Abu Dhabi: After years of waiting, the women’s driving school in Asir is complete and will be opened soon by Prince Turki bin Talal, the governor of the region.

The building, located on King Fahd Road, linking Khamis Mushait and Abha governorates in south-west Saudi Arabia, is estimated at 70,000 square metres, and it includes a main building with full services and a spacious driving arena.

Starting June 24, 2018, Saudi women were allowed to drive a car on their own, capping a 30-year campaign to end the world’s last ban on female drivers. Until then, Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world where women were legally required to be driven by chauffeurs or travel with male family members.

Things quickly changed after an earlier royal decree from the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, enabled women to obtain driver’s licenses.

With the promise of greater independence, many women across the conservative kingdom signed up for driving lessons and road safety education classes at universities, but not at driving schools.

Many Asir women are impatiently waiting for the facility to open so that they can obtain driving licenses and sit behind wheels.

More driving schools for women will be opened in various regions across Saudi Arabia this year, local media reported.

More woman applicants will also be allowed to use driving schools for men. There will be specific periods of time for women at these schools under the supervision of woman instructors.

The move is meant to ease the rush at driving schools for women and helping more women get driving licences for women.

There are now only five women’s driving schools in the Kingdom, one each in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Medina and Tabuk.