The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

City Life

Cairo Guide: Transportation in the Capital

Cairo Guide: Transportation in the Capital
    written by
    Aleksandra Sekinger

    Cairo
    is the largest city in Africa. Our daily
    lives, full-time jobs and social outings take us to all corners of the megalopolis.
    Thankfully, we Cairenes are blessed with several options of public and private
    transportation for all budgets and routes.This is Cairo
    360’s guide to getting around the maze of our amazing city.

    Metro: The Metro is a convenient, fast and inexpensive way to
    get around Cairo .
    There are currently two operating lines of the Cairo metro. The Helwan-to-El-Marg line
    consists of 33 stations that span Ain Shams, Heliopolis,
    Ghamra, Tahrir, Sayeda Zeinab, Coptic Cairo and Helwan University.
    The second metro line runs between Shobra El Kheima and El Mounib, which
    services Downtown, Dokki, Cairo
    University and the Giza
    Suburb of Mounib.

    While the metro is affordable and arrives quickly,
    there are several factors that can make travelling in the metro quite
    unpleasant. Boarding the car might be your biggest challenge as passengers push
    from all sides and can be quite aggressive. Due to the sheer number of people that
    use the metro, it can get quite hot; especially during summer months due to
    lack of air conditioning. The overwhelming body odour doesn’t help.

    A metro ticket costs 1LE per ride, regardless of
    distance. The fourth and fifth cars of every metro train are reserved for women
    and the children that accompany them only. Women can ride in other cars freely.

    Two additional lines are currently under construction,
    which will be fully operational in 2020. The first will stretch from Imbaba and
    Mohandiseen to Heliopolis and the Cairo International
    Airport. The other line
    is expected to stretch from the Haram District to New Cairo.

    Also worth mentioning is the Heliopolis
    tram that provides transportation between Ramsis Square and Heliopolis, with various stops in between at Abbasiya
    and Ghamra. A ride on the tram is very cheap at 0.50LE but is painfully slow.
    Expect to wait up to 45 minutes to an hour just to catch it.

    Microbuses: Microbuses are a popular and affordable way to travel
    to areas in Cairo
    that the metro does not reach. Microbuses are meant to seat eight people, but often
    the vans are filled over capacity with up to 14 passengers. Crammed like
    sardines in a can, taking a microbus far from the transportation mode of
    comfort. However, it is the transportation method for the fiscally
    conservative. Microbuses rarely exceed 1.25LE.

    A centre for microbuses is Abdel Moneim Riyad Square, which is the
    big bus station next to the Egyptian
    Museum and the Corniche under
    the 15th May Bridge. Don’t be intimidated by the illusion of chaos. Shout out
    where you want to go and you’ll eventually be pushed in the right direction.
    From Abdel Moneim Riyad, you can find inexpensive transportation to Giza (1.25LE), City Stars/ Heliopolis (1.50LE), Mokattam (1.50LE), Ramsis Square (0.50LE)
    and several other locations. Generally, the drivers are very helpful, and if
    you tell them where you want to go, they’ll tell you how to get there. However,
    long-distance commutes may take two or three microbuses.

    Sayeda Aisha is another centre for microbuses and
    larger intercity buses. Intercity buses run from Sayeda Aisha through Sayeda
    Zeinab and Tahrir Square
    until Ramsis Square.
    Bus fares can vary between 1.25LE to 2LE.

    Taxis: There are three kinds of taxis in Cairo: regular old black taxis, yellow cabs and
    white cabs. Black taxis can range from quite dilapidated to quite nice. Since
    there is usually no metre, price is negotiable and can be a source of argument
    between the driver and rider.

    In 2006, yellow taxis were introduced to offer a luxurious
    taxi service to the Cairo
    market. Run by private taxi companies, all the taxis have air conditioning and
    metres that start at 3.50LE. Yellow taxis are great if you need a taxi to pick
    you up and drop you off at designated locations, as there is a central number
    you can call to arrange a pickup location; dial 16516 for the hotline.
    Operators speak Arabic and English.

    In mid-2008, white taxis became the newest addition to
    the Cairo taxi
    scene. The distribution of white taxis, which now outnumber yellow cabs, was an
    initiative by the Egyptian government to trade in older cars for newer
    vehicles. White cabs all have metres, but unlike the yellow cabs, they are
    privately owned by the driver.

    Recently, Cairenes have been reporting incidents where
    the metre has been manipulated by the drivers; so keep your watchful eye on the
    metre when you first get into a cab. By law, metres should start at 2.50LE and
    add 1.25LE per kilometre and 0.25LE per minute of waiting. White cabs, like
    black cabs, are hailed from the street. For more on taxis, read Savvy
    Girl’s Guide to Cairo Taxis
    .

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