CAIRO – 13 April 2018: As of September, citizens of the affluent suburb Heliopolis will be able to stop at the first station of the under-construction fourth phase of the third metro line, which covers a distance of 48 km, making it the longest metro line in Egypt.
The first station of the phase runs from Haroun station to Heliopolis Square. According to Tariq Gamal el-Din, head of the Egyptian National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), the inauguration of the fourth phase is set to be in July 2019, after which commuters will be able to use it to reach Cairo International Airport. It comprises 10 stations with a total length of 15.8 km.
Phase 4 of third metro line - NAT official website
Commuters used to stop at Attaba station of the second line and then take another means of transportation, like microbuses, to go to Heliopolis. The air-conditioned metro cars of the third line, running from Attaba to Korba, are believed to have made the ride experience to Heliopolis cheaper, faster and more convenient.
Around 3.5 million Cairenes use the metro every day, switching between stations to reach their destinations while paying an affordable ticket. Launched in 1987, the metro has since become the most important means of transportation, helping passengers to avoid getting stuck in Cairo traffic or having to negotiate fares with unmetered taxis. Female commuters can either choose to take the non-segregated cars or use the women-only carriages.
Egyptian women exit a metro station in Cairo. Egypt doubled the price of tickets to 2 Egyptian pounds, effective from Friday. (File photo: Reuters)
There were originally two lines – the oldest one running from Marg to Helwan, south of Cairo, and the second one running from Shubra to Giza.
In November 2015, the contract of the third phase of the third metro line was signed between a French-Egyptian consortium, including French companies Alstom and Colas Rail.
The third line with its four phases would save nearly two million daily commutes above the ground, reducing Cairo’s traffic congestion, shortening the duration of commutes and saving LE 250 million ($14.2 million) in the cost of public transportation buses. The project would save up to LE 2.72 billion a year overall, according to NAT’s official website.
The third phase of the third metro line will connect the working-class districts of Attaba, Bulaq and Imbaba with Cairo University in Giza. The phase will also pass through well-off neighborhoods like Zamalek, Mohandiseen and Agouza. The construction work on the 18-kilometer phase officially started in 2017; it includes 15 stops, including Zamalek.
Greater Cairo Metro network
The government has announced future projects to construct three more metro lines to meet the transportation needs by 2050. It is expected that the projects will increase the number of daily commuters to 9 million.
Greater Cairo Metro network map - NAT official website
The government’s plan is to have six metro lines and five interactive stations while developing the existing transport services of the first and second lines.
During the “Tale of a Homeland” conference held in January, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi spoke about the importance of upgrading the transportation sector in Egypt, adding that the maintenance of Line 1 of the metro costs LE 20 billion.
The Egyptian government approved a bid by Japanese-Egyptian consortium Tizi-Orascom to carry out the construction of the first phase of Line 4. The 19-km long line is expected to connect 6th of October City with Old Cairo through 17 stations, and it will also meet with the first line at Giza station.
First phase of Line 4 of metro - NAT official website
NAT recommended the execution of Line 4 to meet the increased demand of transport in the areas of El-Haram, Faysel, Giza, Sayda Zeinab, Al-Azhar and Port Said Street.
In December 2017, three foreign coalitions offered to execute the construction of the fifth metro line in Greater Cairo stretching on 24 kilometers and passing through 17 stations. Line 5 extends from the Maadi neighborhood and connects the first line to New Cairo.
An agreement was signed between Egypt and Canadian company Bombardier in July 2017 to finance and carry out the construction of Line 6. The 20-km line is expected to lessen the pressure on the first line of the metro since it runs from northern Cairo and passes through Shubra el-Kheima and New Maadi.
A general view of a street in downtown Cairo, Egypt March 9, 2017. Picture taken March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany
The projects also include establishing the Alexandria Metro and Port Said tunnels under the Suez Canal, along with other transportation projects to lessen traffic in different governorates.
Disputed metro ticket fee
A government decision to raise the metro ticket to LE 2 ($0.11) a year ago has stirred anger among passengers, such that a citizen filed a lawsuit calling to halt the decision.
Commuters used to travel across Cairo with the same ticket fee of LE 1 ($0.06), regardless of the number of stations used. Around 40 percent of passengers (including journalists, disabled people, army and police members, the elderly and children) receive tickets discounted by 50 piasters.
NAT has blamed the unchanged price of the metro ticket over the past 11 years for the annual losses of the authority that are estimated at millions of pounds, not to mention the fare-jumpers.
The Cairo monorail is another governmental bid that would turn 6th of October City into a lively area, as it is aimed to connect the area with Cairo and Giza.
Proposed monorail design - courteys of Housing Ministry
Currently, 6th of October City is reachable through the Mehwar Bridge (6th of October Corridor), which starts from the 26th July Corridor near Zamalek and Mohandiseen and has an exit to the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road.
In January, the Ministry of Housing invited Egyptian and international companies to submit their bids for the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of two hanging trains set to be established. The first train will be in 6th of October City with a length of 35 km, and the second monorail is 52 km long and will run from Nasr City in Cairo governorate to the New Administrative Capital.
Housing Minister Moustafa Madbouly explained that the monorail meets passengers’ demands for a “comfortable” means of transportation, and it comes in line with the government’s developmental plans for the sector.
The maximum capacity of the monorail reaches one million passengers per day, according to Mabdouly.