Following a number of changes to the price of goods and services in Egypt, the Egyptian government has announced another hike in the price of public transportation by increasing bus fares across the board.
The increase in the cost of bus fare applies to all of Egypt’s public buses. In an attempt to formally organize the ticketing system in Egypt, the Ministry of Transportation has placed a bracket system wherein bus fares are divided by category. The Ministry also announced they would be rolling out a number of discounted and package rates for students, the elderly, and the differently abled.
There are three brackets according to which passengers will pay to ride public buses in Egypt. The first fare bracket costs riders EGP 3 ($0.17) for buses that drive at 30 kilometers per hour (18 miles per hour) or less; the second bracket costs riders EGP 4 ($0.22), and applies to buses that drive 31 to 40 kilometers per hour (18-24 miles per hour); and the third bracket costs riders EGP 5 ($0.28) for buses that drive 41 to 60 kilometers per hour (25-37 miles per hour). For the high line buses that are equipped with USB chargers, WiFi, and air conditioning, the fare will go for EGP 7 ($0.39).
The Ministry of Transportation justified the increase in the cost of fare as a result of the increase in the price of gasoline. In June, just as Muslims in Egypt were preparing to celebrate Eid Al-Adha, which comes at the end of Ramadan, the government announced that gasoline prices would rise by 50 percent. The hikes came as part of Egypt’s IMF reform plan, which requires the Egyptian government to slash subsidies on consumer goods – including gasoline.
In July 2017, the price of the underground metro fare increased from EGP 1 ($0.056) to EGP 2 ($0.11). In spite of its limited coverage, the underground metro provides affordable transportation for the majority of the working class in Greater Cairo. Out of the 21 million residents of Cairo, 3.5 million take the metro on a daily basis.
In May 2018, the Ministry of Transport increased the metro fare once again by, creating brackets for travelers by distance, causing outrage. The new system is similar to the scheme used for the increase in bus fares.
The increase in fare of Egyptian public transportation is, according to the Ministry of Transport, directly impacted by the increase in the price of gasoline and intends to improve the quality of Egyptian public transportation. However, the government has also been trying to adjust its budget deficit, which is currently between 9.5 – 9.7 percent of the country’s total GDP.
Last month, the Egyptian Passengers Transportation Authority announced that Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria would receive a number of electric-powered buses in an attempt to reduce the amount of pollution in the city. Should the fleet be integrated into the Egyptian public transportation system, Alexandria will become the first city in the Middle East and North Africa to have electric-powered buses.