Aysha, Basima, Nadia cross causeway just after midnight; Saudi tycoon Alwaleed Bin Talal’s first ride with his daughter
Manama: Three Bahrainis made history by becoming the first women to drive across the King Fahad Causeway into Saudi Arabia.
Aysha Bahlool, Basima Al Haram and Nadia Fayez used the 25-kilometre terrestrial link between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia just after midnight when the ban on women driving was officially lifted in the Saudi kingdom.
“We wanted to be the first ones to do it, so we were at the borders right at midnight,” they said.
The three friends insisted on recording the event with their smartphones and requested the police officers on both sides of the borders to confirm that they were the first Bahraini women to ever drive on the causeway since it was opened on November 26, 1986.
“We are the first Bahrainis to drive and let our names be recorded in the annals of history,” the women said, unable to rein in their pronounced enthusiasm.
Under the new Saudi traffic rules, Bahraini and other Gulf women can drive into Saudi Arabia without the need for a male companion.
Saudi women too can drive through Saudi Arabia’s borders with other countries.
Saudis took to social media to post videos celebrating the lifting of the ban on driving.
Alwaleed’s first ride with daughter Reem
Business tycoon Al Waleed Bin Talal had a clip of his daughter Reem driving for the first time in the kingdom.
“There is no doubt that my brother [Crown} Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has great ideas. Women can now drive,” he said as his daughter drove him.
In April 2013, Al Waleed made a strong case for women drivers, arguing that allowing women to drive will result in saving at least 500,000 jobs held by foreign drivers and in subsequent economic and social benefits for the nation.