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Cairo Public Transportation

Taxi
The normal fleet of taxis in Cairo is black and white, and can be the easiest way to get around in a city with questionable traffic laws, winding streets, and buildings with no real address.  It’s much better to get a taxi on the fly driving around instead of picking one up outside of a hotel or restaurant, where prices will be higher.  There’s always a cab or two driving by, so it won’t be hard to flag one down.  There’s no company to call to book a cab, so you’ll have to hail one anyway.

There are no meters, prices are negotiated either before or after the trip.  As a foreigner, it’s often easier to negotiate beforehand so the cabbies don’t try to take advantage of you, but you should expect to pay slightly more than if you waited until the end.  Be reasonable with fares and you shouldn’t have any problems.  Fares are a little higher early morning and late at night.  Fares are paid through the taxi window after the trip and should be exact change.  A short local trip should be around 3 Egyptian pounds, to get to the airport 20-25 Egyptian pounds.

Yellow taxis are brand new and run off of natural gas.  Unlike the black and white cabs, these have meters that start at .50 and add 1 pound for each kilometer.  They’re more comfortable than the older cabs, and have credit card readers.

Metro
For a map of stops:
http://www.urbanrail.net/af/cairo/cairo.htm
The Cairo Metro system is the one of the few in Africa.  While it has limited routes, it’s perfect for getting around if you need to get to one of the places it stops.  There are two lines currently.  Line 1 goes from Helwan in the south through downtown to El-Marg in the northeast.  Line two goes from El Mounib in the southwest to Shobra in the north.  The Egyptian government has plans to extensively expand the system, including adding a line out to the airport.

Trains leave every 5 minutes during rush hour, 10 minutes at other times.  Service ends at midnight and begins at 5:30 am.  The first car on each train is reserved for women.  Fare is 1 Egyptian pound per ride, which is a steal.

Train

Ramses Station
Ramses Square
Cairo, Egypt 12411
02 574-9474
The Ramses Station is the main train station in Cairo, and it has service to the surrounding cities and regions of Egypt.  Tracks 1-7 handle more local stops, like Alexandria and other Nile Delta towns, and are inside the main hall of the station.  Trips to further destinations like Luxor and Aswan leave from platforms 8-11, which are outside the main hall.  Price, especially for further trips, varies greatly based on the level of luxury you’d like, but tends to be reasonable regardless.