Egypt will increase the price of standard metro-tickets to EGP 2, doubling the cost from EGP 1, transport minister Hisham Arafat announced on Thursday.
In comments to state-run news agency MENA, Arafat said that the increase had previously been set at 3 EGP, but the minister had insisted on keeping it at 2 EGP.
Earlier on Thursday, a source at the ministry told Al-Ahram that special-needs passengers and "other categories" will have their tickets priced at EGP 1 and EGP 1.5, respectively. It's unclear which categories will be exempted from the EGP 2 pricing.
The announcement of the price increase follows approval by the cabinet on Thursday and a series of discussions in parliament in the attendance of Arafat.
No date has been set for the implementation of the price rise. However, the minister said it would take place "very soon".
The move follows a series of proposals by officials in recent years to increase ticket prices in order to fix the financial woes of Cairo's vital metro underground service.
Metro officials have repeatedly said the low ticket price, which has not been increased for over a decade, is a key factor in financial losses by the metro service. Officials have argued that increasing ticket prices could double annual revenues.
On Wednesday, Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the government is seeking to solve the financial troubles of the metro service, with has some EGP 500 million of debt.
Ismail told reporters that the first of the Metro's three existing lines alone requires 350 million euros worth of maintenance and upgrades, excluding debts and running costs.
Last week, the Cairo Metro Company's spokesman told Ahram Online that the company is failing to cover maintenance, electricity and water expenses due to a lack of resources.
Cairo’s underground train system, launched in 1987, is one of the oldest in the Middle East and Africa.
Over 3.5 million of Greater Cairo's 21 million inhabitants rely on the subway for their daily travel, according to estimates by the country's national tunnels authority.
Construction on the final phase of Cairo's third metro line is set to begin by June, according to Arafat.
A fourth line, financed through a loan from Japan, is planned and due to begin operations in 2019/20.