Things you should know when traveling by metro in Cairo

In a city as vast as Cairo, which also merges with Giza to form a single metropolitan area, a Metro system is essential. Although it may not have as many stations and lines as other capitals, it serves as a convenient and fast mode for short trips downtown. Remember, Egipto Exclusivo can provide you with a chauffeured vehicle for your tour. However, if you want to mingle with locals and experience the Cairo Metro, this post is for you. We’ll detail some essential things you should know in advance.

Cairo Metro: Overview and Reach

The Cairo Metro is a metropolitan transport system that combines underground and surface routes. You can identify its stations by a post featuring its iconic logo: an “M” framed within an 8-pointed star.

It currently has three lines, with plans to expand to a total of five lines. The routes mainly cover central Cairo and Giza, meaning it doesn’t reach two pivotal tourist destinations: neither the Airport (planned for line 3’s extension) nor the Pyramids of Giza. However, you can use the Cairo Metro to get to the Coptic Quarter (Mar Girgis station) or the Egyptian Museum and Tahrir Square (Sadat station), among other tourist areas.

Cairo Metro Operating Hours

The Cairo Metro isn’t open 24 hours, but its extensive hours ensure service virtually all day. Specifically, it runs from 5.00 AM to 12.00 AM. During Ramadan, these hours are extended by two, running until 2.00 AM, as daily life halts during the day and extends into the night.

Cairo Metro Pricing

The ticket pricing for the Cairo Metro can be subject to changes, depending on current circumstances: special discounts or, more likely, rate increases to align with the actual service cost. As of 2023, the general fares are:

Short trip (up to 9 stops): 5 EGP Medium trip (10 to 14 stops): 7 EGP Long trip (over 15 stops): 10 EGP Tickets are purchased at counters at each station. Note: The queues formed can be rather ‘informal,’ so approach the selling point gradually, without pushing, and with patience. Stay alert so nobody skips ahead of you.

Women-Only Carriages and Other Conduct Rules

Like metros worldwide, Cairo’s system has its own behavioral norms. Some are universal basics, like no smoking, not littering food, or using headphones when listening to music.

However, there’s one rule that might surprise you and should be kept in mind when traveling by Metro in Cairo: trains have separate carriages for men and women. These are clearly marked on the platform, and with minimal observation, you’ll notice it, as women usually wait together on their designated side.

This arrangement, which may be debated from a Western perspective, primarily aims to prevent unpleasant situations and harassment of women, especially during peak hours when carriages are crowded. If you’re a man and mistakenly enter a women’s carriage, you’ll soon be politely informed that you’re in the wrong place.

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