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Transportation in Cairo


Cairo's large buses are chaotic and overcrowded, but private microbuses are faster and it's easier to get a seat. Routes are not clearly signed, so go in the direction of your destination, and shout it when one comes past.


Cairo's underground metro system is Africa's first. Constantly developing, the two lines stretch from north to south, and northeast to southwest. Cheap and efficient, important stops include Attaba (Khan el-Khalili), Sadat (intersection, and Midan Tahrir) and Opera (Zamalek); look for the huge red ‘M' at street level. The front two carriages are women-only.


The city's favoured mode of transport, taxis are everywhere but too few for the huge number of people. The newer Cairo Cabs and City Cabs, operating since 2006, are yellow air-conditioned metered taxis. Be prepared to step into the old black-and-white taxis, which are cheaper but unmetered. Forget haggling: find out from locals the correct price for your journey and hand over exact cash to the driver at the end.


Walking is the best way to explore the city, especially the medieval streets of the Islamic quarter. Driving is crazy and roads packed, so crossing a road can be challenging. Stand close to a local, step out confidently and don't turn back or hesitate in the middle.

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Coping with Cairo’s traffic and tangle of roads is a real feat, and with tight parking spaces, double and even triple parking, scratch-free cars are a rarity. Moves are being made to improve the roads, including the recent addition of a ring road, new flyovers and bridges.

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Transportation tips

The metro gets horrendously crowded during rush-hour (7am-9am and 2pm-5pm), when traffic also clogs the streets. Women may feel more comfortable in the women-only carriages, although these are also crowded. Watch all valuables on public transport. Keep plenty of change for the taxi drivers to pay the correct fare at the end of the journey.

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