Public Transportation in Cairo

Cairo is a large city with an extensive public transportation system. There are many options that can be taken to make travellers more time-efficient and simple. 

Metro

The Egyptian government had plans to build a railway system since the 1930s. The first metro line was constructed from Helwan, which is on the south of Cairo, to El Marg, the north of the city. Line 2 was created after, and it goes from Shobra El Kheima to El Mouni. Line 3 goes from Attaba to El-Shams Club. The three groups meet in the city centre. The trains carry people to major destinations like the Egyptian Museum and Coptic Cairo. Metro Line 3 is currently undergoing an expansion and will connect the centre of Cairo to Cairo International Airport.

As of December 2019, the system has 65 stations. The trains run every day from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. However, during Ramadan, they run until 2 a.m. Pricewise, one-way tickets used to cost 1 Egyptian pound (EGP), or 0.059 Euros each. The government increased the price to EGP 2 from 24 March 2017, and then to EGP 3 for nine stops and EGP 5 for 16 stops from 10 May 2018. Tickets can be purchased in booths located at each station. To enter and exit the stations, passengers are required to keep their tickets after crossing the turnstile. The middle cars on every train are women only.

Cairo is the biggest and the most densely populated city in Africa. In 1987 the resident population was 10 million. 2 million commuters came into the capital for work daily. The capacity for the public transport infrastructure was 20,000 passengers an hour. This increased to 60,000 after the metro. A study conducted in 1990 showed that 8.4 million journeys were needed by public transport and 2.7 million by other means, such as taxis and cars. As of today, the capacity is 4.9 million journeys a day, which is 3.5 million short of the requirement. This resulted in a 50% increase in the number of taxis. Thus, there was a subsequent increase in traffic congestion in the city.

Buses

The public buses offer several lines of service at different price points. The standard ones are run by the Cairo Transport Authority (CTA) and cost EGP 2 to 2.5. The vehicles are marked with the CTA logo. They have major stop points such as the Cairo International Airport and the Pyramids of Giza. However, figuring out the stops could potentially be confusing for tourists as most buses do not have the numbers written on them, and if present they are often printed in Arabic. Some minibusses are run by companies subcontracted by the government. They cost EGP 3 per ride. These are also not tourist-friendly as they do not have any marked destinations. They have air-conditioning and wi-fi and cost EGP 5. Most of the CTA buses do not provide air-conditioning. The Micro-buses are run privately by individuals and are the cheapest form of transport. Though, these are not very reliable or tourist-friendly and often contain pickpocketers. 

Taxis

An organized taxi service was implemented in March 2006. Dubbed the “yellow” taxis, they soon overtook the older black and white ones. They are were modern and also air-conditioned, unlike their older counterparts. Most of the cab drivers can speak English. An average ride costs $3, although prices can vary according to the distance travelled. In later years a newer set of "white" taxis was introduced. They surpassed the yellows in numbers. The government implemented the plan to get rid of the older taxis, as they were mostly outdated cars. They offer a program where drivers can give up their old cars and get the newer ones for a steep discount. The white cabs have air-conditioning and electronic meters with set pricing. 

Nile River Bus / Felucca

The ferry bus system takes passengers along the Nile and has stops like the various Giza attractions. They are much slower than land transportations, but tourists sometimes avoid heavy traffic by travelling on them. The Dok Dok landing point at Garden City is one of the best places to flag down a Felucca. An hour ride costs around EGP 60 to 80.

Road System

Transportation in Cairo consists of a wide-ranging rail system, road network, subways, and maritime services. It is the hub of much of the Egyptian transportation network. Its roads connect Cairo to other Egyptian cities and towns. The main ring road is on the outskirts of the city and it has exits that reach almost every district in Cairo. There are also major flyovers such as the Sixth October Bridge provides transport from one side of the city to the other.

Editorial credit: Sun_Shine / Shutterstock.com

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Wanted in Africa, part of the Wanted Worldwide network, is a website in English for expatriates in Africa established in 2006. We cover Europe's news stories that may be of interest to English speaking residents along with tourists as well. Our publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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