Your ultimate guide to Cairo’s subway

Hitting its peak, gas prices have left no one able to afford rides! And while it is no longer convenient to take a normal cab and argue about the fare, it is becoming ridiculous having to tolerate private cars and their on-the-rise prices! Because there aren’t many cards to play, gather round ladies because we’ve decided to take you on a ride to experience the answer to your pockets’ prayers: The subway! Trust us, it is not that as bad as you think and it is not just for a specific social class.

It is psychological!

Most of the ideas that consume our thoughts root back to how we were conditioned to feel about things. We’ve been roaming about this supposedly dark, sweaty and allegedly smelly underground world for quite some time now and it seems more welcoming than it’s been given credit for! Chilling in Cairo’s metro has granted us the opportunity to witness people from all walks of life merge in a gap-free environment even if it is just for a few rides! 

When to ride?

The old metro line covering Maadi, Mohandssen, Zamalek and Downtown is the hard part, it is almost like the Nile runs down there and so that is the heart of overpopulation. Most of the trains don’t enjoy the luxury of an air conditioner but if it is your lucky day you will jump on the one that does! If you are riding somewhere between 3:00 Pm and 5:30 then it is rush hour – so prepare to be standing! With time, you catch on the balance deal and it is no longer a burden anymore. And from 6 onwards it, finding a seat is no fantasy! It is real! When taking this line, don’t even think about riding in the mixed car or else you’ll end up on some stranger’s lap. The ladies’ car is a much safer option, but you must always keep both eyes wide open!  

A shopping mall on wheels!

And while you wait for your stop you might as well shop! From socks to accessories, you can find all sorts of sellers roaming the cars. Prices are crazy cheap so you can always explore options, but we suggest you don’t come anywhere near the makeup because that is definitely a risky game! You must get suspicious if an eye-liner is for 10.L.E even if the seller swears to everything dear that it is “long-lasting”.

The real challenge

One sign you have become a metro-pro is mastering how to get on and off a train. We thought we should give you a heads up when taking the old lines, that this is the real challenge. The culture of standing aside so those on the train can get out first is not valid here, and for that people end up getting on and off right at the same breath. Sometimes forces of crowds will be in charge of your movement rather than your own legs.

What is happening to the world?

Why watch News shows when you can catch everything live? People in the metro have less social constraints that those outside of it. They talk, share, and sometimes even joke. If you are lucky, you’ll even catch some music performers that will keep you company!

“Ba3d Elkalka3a hategy elShakhla3a”

If you survive the previous part, reward is coming your way! The new metro covering Masr Elgedida in Abbasseya direction is the dream except it is all too real! Air conditioner? Nah, we’d call it a freezer! Yes, it is always cold in there with too many seating options. Oh, it is pretty.

How much time are you saving?

Old as they are, these trains help you to escape your worst nightmare; traffic! If you are heading from Korba to Dokki, it will take you from 15 to 20 minutes to go from ‘ElAhram’ to the changing station ‘Attaba’ and then 10 more minutes to get to ‘Dokki’. Whereas if you take a cab it is up to the traffic when you will arrive, and even on a good day this can clock up the hours. When heading from Masr Elgedida to Maadi that is a bit of a longer ride but still relatively a faster means to arrive. You’ll be taking the line from ‘ElAhram’ to the ultimate changing station ‘Attaba’, then you’ll have to change at ‘Sadat’ to take the train heading towards Helwan, getting off at ‘Maadi’, a process that will take you approximately 45 minutes. And as for going from Nasr City to Zamalek, you can always use the ‘Cairo Stadium’ station, change in ‘Attaba’, and head towards El Monib to get off on the ‘Opera’ station, but don’t worry, a new Zamalek station is under construction and it will get you even closer to your destination!

With some adaption and an open mind, we are sure you will be fine embarking on your journey in this underground world; a world where convenience and low-cost go hand in hand. And with the new line currently being expanded, the future of the metro is getting better, not worse, unlike Benzene prices. But whatever you do just make sure you never lose your ticket because the fine is worth 50 L.E! Yes, you could have taken a cab with that amount of money! Just remember social gaps are purely human-made, and when we all share the same empty pockets, we are hardly any different.


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