Local Transportation Tips for US Citizens Traveling to Egypt

What are the main modes of public transportation in Egypt, and how reliable are they?

The main modes of public transportation in Egypt are buses, metro, train, and taxis.

Buses: Buses are the most common form of public transportation in Egypt and can be found all across the country. They are generally reliable, however service can be sporadic during peak hours.

Metro: The Cairo Metro is the only metro system in Egypt and is relatively reliable and inexpensive.

Train: The Egyptian National Railways provide long-distance travel between major cities. Trains tend to be reliable, but can be slow.

Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Egypt and are a popular mode of transportation. They are generally reliable, but fares can vary depending on distance traveled.

Are there any specific cultural norms or etiquette when using public transportation in Egypt?

Yes, there are some cultural norms and etiquette when using public transportation in Egypt. It is expected that passengers will remain polite and courteous towards each other, and show respect for all those around them. Passengers should also refrain from using foul language or making loud noises. If there is a seat available, it is expected that passengers will offer it to elderly people and pregnant women. Although public displays of affection are generally frowned upon, loud conversations on mobile phones can be considered impolite.

What is the best way to purchase and use public transportation tickets or cards in Egypt?

The best way to purchase and use public transportation tickets or cards in Egypt is by using Egypt’s public transportation payment app, Bey2ollak. It is the official mobile app of the Egyptian government that allows users to buy tickets for public transportation in Egypt, including buses, metro, and ferries. It is accepted in all major cities in Egypt. Through the app, users can add money to their accounts to purchase tickets with ease. The Bey2ollak app also allows users to track their journeys, access discounts, and view special offers.

How accessible are public transportation services for individuals with mobility challenges in Egypt?

Public transportation services in Egypt are generally not accessible for individuals with mobility challenges. There are no accessible buses, trains, or other public transportation services for people who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Taxis may be accessible, depending on the individual’s needs, but they are not always reliable. Additionally, most public services and facilities do not offer ramps or other accommodations for people with disabilities, making it difficult to access them.

Are there ride-sharing services available, and how do they compare to traditional taxis in Egypt?

Yes, ride-sharing services are available in Egypt. These include services such as Uber, Careem, and Swvl. Ride-sharing services are generally more affordable than traditional taxis in Egypt. They also offer a more reliable and convenient way to get around due to their GPS tracking and other features. In addition, they are more likely to use modern vehicles and provide better customer service than traditional taxis.

What is the local protocol for negotiating fares with taxi drivers in Egypt?

The local protocol for negotiating fares with taxi drivers in Egypt is to ask the driver for an approximate fare before getting in the cab and then negotiate the price with the driver. It’s important to note that taxi drivers in Egypt may not always use the meter, so it’s best to agree on a fare before the journey begins. However, it is also important to note that haggling is an expected and accepted part of the process, and it is generally expected that tourists will pay more than locals.

Are there bike-sharing or scooter-sharing programs for getting around in Egypt?

No, there are currently no bike-sharing or scooter-sharing programs in Egypt.

What are the driving laws and regulations in Egypt, and is it advisable for tourists to rent cars?

In Egypt, the minimum age for driving is 18, and it is advisable for tourists to rent cars as long as they meet the driving requirements. The speed limit on highways is 80 km/h, 90 km/h on expressways, and 50 km/h in urban areas. Seat belts must be worn at all times and the use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited. Driving under the influence of alcohol is also illegal, and the blood alcohol limit is 0.05%.

For foreign tourists, an international driving permit is required in order to rent a car in Egypt. The car must also have a valid safety certificate and all necessary documents. It is important to adhere to all traffic regulations while driving in Egypt, as violation of traffic laws may result in fines or even imprisonment.

How reliable and safe are local trains and buses for intercity travel in Egypt?

Local trains and buses are generally considered relatively safe for intercity travel in Egypt. However, it should be noted that pickpockets are common on these forms of transportation and travelers should take precautions to protect their belongings. Additionally, the quality of local trains and buses can vary, and travelers should check to make sure that their chosen vehicle is in good condition before boarding.

What are the options for airport transportation, and is it recommended to arrange them in advance in Egypt?

The most common options for airport transportation in Egypt are:
1. Taxi or Private Car: You can hire a taxi or private car from the airport to your destination. It is recommended to arrange this in advance to avoid any potential scams or delays.
2. Airport Shuttle: You can book an airport shuttle in advance and it can be a cost-effective way to get from the airport to your destination.
3. Bus: Public buses can be available for transportation from the airport. It is recommended to check the timetables and routes before you travel.
4. Train: You can take the train from the airport to your destination, but it is not always the most convenient option.
5. Hotel Transfer: Some hotels may offer a shuttle service from the airport to their hotel, so it is usually recommended to check with your hotel before travelling.

Is it common for locals to walk or use bicycles as a mode of transportation, and are there pedestrian-friendly areas in Egypt?

Yes, it is common for locals to walk or use bicycles as a means of transportation in Egypt. Egypt has built several pedestrian-friendly areas in recent years, including newly constructed walkways and bike paths throughout the cities. Examples of pedestrian-friendly areas include the Corniche and Al-Azhar Park in Cairo and the downtown area of Alexandria. There are also many dedicated bike lanes in the cities, making it easier to cycle around.

What is the typical cost of transportation for daily commuting within Egypt?

The typical cost of transportation for daily commuting within Egypt varies widely depending on the method of transportation used. Taking a taxi may cost around 5-15 EGP ($0.30-1 USD) per trip, while taking public transportation such as the metro or bus may range from 1-2 EGP ($0.06-0.12 USD) per trip.

Are there any apps or online resources for navigating public transportation routes and schedules in Egypt?

Yes, there are several apps and online resources for navigating public transportation routes and schedules in Egypt. The most popular resource is Busfaster, which is a free app that offers real-time information about bus routes and timetables. It includes an interactive map and information about ticket prices. Other apps include Cairo Bus Guide, which offers information about bus routes and timetables in Cairo, and Metro Egypt, which provides information on the Metro system in Cairo. Additionally, the Egyptian Ministry of Transportation has an online portal called ‘Mobility Egypt’ that offers information on public transportation, including bus routes and timetables, in the country.

What are the safety considerations for using public transportation, especially at night, in Egypt?

1. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and valuable items while traveling by public transportation, especially at night.
2. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night.
3. Choose your train or bus carefully. Make sure to take one that is well maintained and has a secure door.
4. Check the credentials of taxi drivers and other transportation personnel.
5. Be mindful of pickpocketing and other forms of theft that are common on public transportation.
6. Refrain from engaging in conversations with strangers.
7. Do not accept offers of food or drink from strangers.
8. Refrain from using phones on public transportation, as it can draw unwanted attention and can make you a target for theft.
9. Stay alert for any suspicious activity or behavior around you while traveling on public transportation.
10. When possible, travel with a friend or group when taking public transportation, especially at night.

Are there any specific rules or considerations for travelers with young children when using public transportation in Egypt?

1. Parents should be aware that public transportation in Egypt can be crowded and may not provide space for strollers. If possible, it is advisable to avoid peak times and opt for off-peak hours.

2. It is important to ensure that children wear comfortable clothing suitable for the weather, and to be prepared with snacks and other essentials for the journey.

3. Parents should be aware of the cultural norms that apply to public transport in Egypt, such as the prohibition of eating and drinking on board, and should ensure that their children are aware of this as well.

4. It is advisable to take extra care to keep an eye on children while using public transport in Egypt, as there is a risk of pickpockets in crowded areas or crowded buses and trains.

5. It is important to familiarize children with local etiquette, such as standing when another passenger needs a seat, not blocking doorways or walking between cars, and not speaking loudly or playing games that might bother other passengers.

How can I navigate transportation in areas where English may not be commonly spoken in Egypt?

Navigating transportation in areas where English may not be commonly spoken in Egypt can be challenging. However, there are a few tips that may help.

First, it’s a good idea to research your route in advance and make sure you have a basic understanding of the local transportation system. It can also be helpful to print out a map of the area in English and local language so you can show it to locals for assistance. Additionally, you can use translation apps that can help you communicate with locals using text and voice recognition. Finally, it’s also helpful to keep small notes with simple phrases written down in Arabic to help you communicate.

What are the options for renting bicycles or scooters for short-distance travel in Egypt?

1. Mobike: Mobike is a bike-sharing service that operates in Cairo and Alexandria. It is an easy and affordable way to travel short distances.

2. Rent-a-Bike: Rent-a-bike is a popular option for renting bicycles in Cairo. They offer different types of bikes for different needs, including mountain bikes, road bikes, and electric bicycles.

3. Bird: Bird is a scooter and e-bike sharing service available in Cairo, Alexandria, and Hurghada. It is an easy and affordable way to travel short distances.

4. RYDE: RYDE is a popular scooter rental service available in Cairo and Alexandria. It offers affordably priced scooters that are perfect for short-distance travel.

What are the common scams or pitfalls related to transportation that tourists should be aware of in Egypt?

1. Fake Drivers: Be sure to double-check the validity of taxis or drivers before you get in. There have been reported cases of passengers being overcharged or taken to limited destinations.

2. Unscrupulous Tour Guides: Be wary of tour guides who offer too-good-to-be-true prices or promises to show you sites that are closed or inaccessible.

3. Fake Tickets: Counterfeit train or bus tickets have been sold to tourists who are unaware of the difference between a genuine and fake ticket.

4. Car Breakdowns: If you are renting a car, make sure that the vehicle is reliable and that the rental company will provide assistance if there are any mechanical issues during your trip.

5. Overpriced Journeys: Tourists should always negotiate prices with taxi drivers and other transportation providers in Egypt as they might be overcharged if they don’t.

How does the local transportation system accommodate tourists, and are there any tourist passes or discounts available in Egypt?

The local transportation system in Egypt accommodates tourists by providing a variety of options, including taxis, buses, microbuses, and tuk-tuks. Taxis are the most convenient mode of transportation for tourists and are usually metered. Buses are cheaper but may not be as convenient for tourists due to language barriers. Microbuses are shared minibuses and offer a more personal experience than buses. Tuk-tuks are motorized rickshaws and are a fun way to get around.

There is a tourist pass available in Egypt called the Cairo Pass, which grants access to multiple tourist attractions in Cairo and Giza. The passes are valid for two days and can be purchased online or at select locations in Cairo. Discounts on local transportation are also available to tourists in Egypt, including discounts on taxis and buses.

Are there any cultural considerations or expectations when tipping or thanking transportation service providers in Egypt?

When tipping transportation service providers in Egypt, it is customary to round up the fare to the nearest 5-10 Egyptian pounds. It is also customary to thank the driver for their services. Additionally, taxi drivers often expect a small tip for helping with luggage or giving directions. Consequently, it is important to be aware of the local customs when tipping and thanking providers so as not to cause offense.