Public Transport in Egypt

Urban and Intercity

Although the idea of using public transport in Egypt sounds impossible to some, with some insider knowledge it is easily done. Soon you’ll be knowing when to ditch the taxi and hop on the metro, cutting the journey time and cost in half.

Public Transport in Egypt

Metro system in Cairo

The metro system in Cairo , or the Metro Anfāq al-Qāhirah as it is known in Arabic, is Egypt’s only subway system. It has three lines and covers 61 stations over the city and the Greater Cairo area. For a single journey, it costs 1EGP to ride the metro - and remember to not throw out your ticket after you’ve used it, as you’ll need it to exit the station.

If you’re a solo female traveler looking to use the Cairo metro, look for the cars marked with red stickers, as these are female only cars.

Catching the bus

You’ll find bus systems in the larger cities like Cairo and Alexandria. Busses aren’t the easiest mode of transport for visitors in Egypt, as the numbers are written only in Arabic numerals and they rarely make a complete stop. The busses are often very crowded, so if you do manage to get on one, don’t try and buy your ticket from the driver. Keep moving and eventually a conductor will reach you.

There is another bus system, called the Microbus, which consists of 14 seat minivans that are unmarked. If you need to catch a Microbus, it’s better to go to its starting point, as otherwise you will have to shout your destination to the driver and hope that he stops for you to get in.

Taxi

Taxis can be caught almost anywhere in Egypt and are an efficient way to get around. In Cairo, you will mostly find metres in taxis, but anywhere else the driver will tell you the price. Some people feel they have been cheated out of money when using taxis in Egypt, but for the most part it is an inexpensive form of transportation in the country.

If you are traveling a long distance, you can negotiate a price with the driver beforehand, but doing this for short journeys shows you don’t understand the system, which can lead to you getting taken advantage of.

Rail journeys

Egypt’s trains are best used for long-haul journeys, as shorter distances are often slower and less reliable. For long journeys such as Cairo to Alexandria, there are air conditioned trains and sleeper trains (known as Wagons-lits), and the price will be about 50EGP, with ISIC  holders getting a third off the price. However, if you are traveling from Cairo to Luxor, you will only be able to use a tourist train, whose compartments are guarded by police with guns.

Metro system in Cairo

The metro system in Cairo , or the Metro Anfāq al-Qāhirah as it is known in Arabic, is Egypt’s only subway system. It has three lines and covers 61 stations over the city and the Greater Cairo area. For a single journey, it costs 1EGP to ride the metro - and remember to not throw out your ticket after you’ve used it, as you’ll need it to exit the station.

If you’re a solo female traveler looking to use the Cairo metro, look for the cars marked with red stickers, as these are female only cars.

Catching the bus

You’ll find bus systems in the larger cities like Cairo and Alexandria. Busses aren’t the easiest mode of transport for visitors in Egypt, as the numbers are written only in Arabic numerals and they rarely make a complete stop. The busses are often very crowded, so if you do manage to get on one, don’t try and buy your ticket from the driver. Keep moving and eventually a conductor will reach you.

There is another bus system, called the Microbus, which consists of 14 seat minivans that are unmarked. If you need to catch a Microbus, it’s better to go to its starting point, as otherwise you will have to shout your destination to the driver and hope that he stops for you to get in.

Taxi

Taxis can be caught almost anywhere in Egypt and are an efficient way to get around. In Cairo, you will mostly find metres in taxis, but anywhere else the driver will tell you the price. Some people feel they have been cheated out of money when using taxis in Egypt, but for the most part it is an inexpensive form of transportation in the country.

If you are traveling a long distance, you can negotiate a price with the driver beforehand, but doing this for short journeys shows you don’t understand the system, which can lead to you getting taken advantage of.

Rail journeys

Egypt’s trains are best used for long-haul journeys, as shorter distances are often slower and less reliable. For long journeys such as Cairo to Alexandria, there are air conditioned trains and sleeper trains (known as Wagons-lits), and the price will be about 50EGP, with ISIC  holders getting a third off the price. However, if you are traveling from Cairo to Luxor, you will only be able to use a tourist train, whose compartments are guarded by police with guns.

Further reading

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