Finding school buses new headache for parents
The labor campaign against illegal expats has left parents with a transportation crisis ahead of the new school year.
Families are complaining of a dire shortage of buses transporting students to schools and universities, saying most mini-bus drivers already have customers, most of whom are female, while others have stopped working altogether for fear of arrest.
The Ministry of Labor is continuing to raid several areas in Jeddah in search of illegal expats, prompting many bus drivers to refrain from going out on the road.
Most drivers are not under the sponsorship of schools or even transport companies and refuse to risk arrest and deportation.
“Several occupations have been affected by the labor laws, while there is no way to find Saudis who want to do these jobs,” Abdullah Al-Yousefi, an economist, told Arab News. “This has created a big vacuum in the services sector.”
Several international schools have taken serious steps to transfer the sponsorship of some of their drivers and have already written letters to their current sponsors requesting transfer.
To make it worse, many parents cannot afford transportation costs in the wake of high international school fees.
“I work at a private company in Jeddah, but my monthly salary does not exceed SR7,000,” Adel Barakat, a Syrian resident, told Arab News.
This is why I am unable to provide transport for my children, who go to an international school. I am trying to find a solution to this problem before the start of the new academic year.”
Hundreds of bus drivers stopped taking female students to universities for not being officially registered with these higher learning institutions, according to local media.
“A lot of drivers own small buses and work as drivers to supplement income from their regular jobs,” Mamdooh Khaleel, a Sudanese resident who is looking for a driver for his children, told Arab News.