The first public demonstration came on November 6, 1990, when 47 women drove around central Riyadh for almost an hour until they were detained by the religious police.
But veteran Saudi activist Hala Aldosari says women remained second-class citizens and criticised the crown prince's "piecemeal approach" as serving the interests of the elite at the expense of women from more restrictive families.
The arrest of the women's rights activists just before women are allowed to drive sends a message that "you are subjects and not citizens" and that the Saudi leadership alone controls when and how change takes shape, said Kristin Diwan, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
For decades, hardliners cited austere Islamic interpretations to justify the driving ban, with some asserting that women lack the intelligence to drive and that lifting the prohibition would promote promiscuity.
Saudi Arabia's notorious ban on women driving ended on Sunday.
It's midnight in Riyadh, and she's making her way across the city she was born and raised in, finally in the driver's seat of her own auto.
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The lifting of the ban is part of a programme to modernise some aspects of Saudi society under the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
On May 19, Saudi authorities had detained seven women's rights advocates who campaigned for the right to drive and an end to the male guardianship system.
In 1990, during the first driving campaign by activists, women who drove in Riyadh lost their jobs and were barred from traveling overseas, even as women in other conservative Muslim countries drove freely.
"There will be more cars on the road", Khalid Al-Falih said in Vienna, where he was attending an OPEC meeting.
Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that two more women's rights campaigners had been arrested in recent days "in what appears to be an unrelenting crackdown on the women's rights movement". Women only parking spaces have been set up across Saudi Arabia and they will be painted pink in addition to signs reading "ladies parking only" to indicate spaces meant for female drivers.
Some six million women - or 65 percent of the female driving-age population - are expected to apply for a licence once the ban is lifted, according to the London-based consulting firm Facts Global Energy. Speaking of her latest track, she said, "Drive is inspired by Saudi women now having a bigger voice". There's a waiting list of several months for the classes on offer in major cities. "I feel free like a bird".
They include Loujain al-Hathloul, a well-known figure in the campaign for women's driving rights. Until today many Saudi women had been forced to employ male drivers, which eats into their income while prohibiting others from owning cars. Men and women are segregated from each other in public places. "Some naughty guys, you know", she said, giggling shyly.