North Africa

Transportation in Cairo

Public transportation

With the exception of the clean, inexpensive and efficient subway network, public transport cannot be recommended in Cairo. The buses are usually crowded and visitors have to fight like the Cairo people on board the bus – they jump open before the bus stops so that they can get in safely. However, you get to know Cairo from its pristine side. Tickets should be bought on the bus from the conductor, who makes his way through the crowds. The fare depends on the length of the trip.

There are also mini buses that are used by private companies and are a mix of taxi and city bus. The destination is usually not marked on the bus, and visitors should call their destination when a bus comes by. If the minibus drives in this direction and still has space, it stops. The fare is slightly more expensive than that for city buses.

Cairo subway is a real pleasure. It is clean, fast, cool, safe and inexpensive and runs from 6 a.m. to midnight in winter, in summer to 1 a.m. at peak times every 5 to 6 minutes, otherwise every 8-10 minutes. There are two lines. One runs along the eastern bank of the Nile from Helwan to Al-Marg, the other from Shubra to Giza. Both lines meet in Tahrir. A third route to the airport is planned. The names of the stations differ in part from those on maps and city maps. A unit ticket is valid for up to nine stops, after which the price increases in stages.

Smoking is not permitted in the subway stations or in the trains. The first two sections of the subway are reserved for women only, although they can travel in the other sections without running the risk of being harassed.

Taxis

There are plenty of fraudulent taxi drivers in Cairo, but also many who prove to be guides, protectors and even friends during their stay in the city. Taxis are either white or yellow and have taximeters (which should be switched on!), Or black and white. The latter are mostly shared with other passengers. You call a taxi to its destination, even if it already has passengers; if this matches, you will be taken.

Customs are different in Cairo than in other cities: In taxis without taximeters, the price is not negotiated before the trip, because here the passenger is expected to know the price. The hotel concierge can u. U. propose a price customary for the destination. A taxi waved up on the street is about half the price of a pre-ordered one. It is also possible to arrange a flat rate for an hour or a day for a personal tour.

Driving in the city

Driving in Cairo is not recommended and not for the faint of heart. Taxis are much safer. Visitors who still intend to drive themselves should observe the driving behavior of the locals for a day or two, as there are only a few traffic regulations. There are no rush hours because the traffic is dense all day and almost all evening. Street signs and most traffic lights are neglected. Horns are used continuously. Only a few drivers drive with lights at night. It only flashes briefly to tell the oncoming traffic that it should avoid it and not, as in many other countries, to signal that it is giving up oncoming traffic.

Car rental

The minimum age to rent a car in Egypt is 25 and an international driver’s license is required. Most major hotels have representatives from leading rental car companies, but the main offices are as follows:

Avis (Tel: (02) 27 93 24 00 or 22 65 24 29. Internet:  www.avis.com);
Budget (Tel: 01 22 35 52 90 or 22 65 23 95. Internet:  www.budget.com);
Hertz, 195 Sharia, 26th July Street; Agouza (Tel: (02) 33 47 31 72 or 22 65 24 30. Internet:  www.hertz.com) and
Sixt (Tel: (02) 27 03 10 18) or 01 29 08 66 55. Internet:  www.e -sixt.com).

Bicycle rental

Many Egyptians ride bicycles, but visitors who do not know Cairo traffic are strongly advised not to do so.