A woman speaks on the phone at a metro station in Cairo February 14, 2011 (File photo: Reuters)
Egypt's Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said on Friday that the price of metro tickets is too low to continue normal operations.
“The metro's revenues do not cover operational costs,” the premier told a news conference. “If the situation continues as is, we will not be able to offer the same services.”
Ismail's statement comes one day after the country floated its currency and increased the prices of subsidised fuel.
On Thursday, Egypt's central bank floated its currency, raising interest rates, while the petroleum ministry increased prices of petrol and gas by 30 to 50 percent.
“Egypt does not have the luxury of postponing urgent economic reforms,” the PM said at the press conference, unusually held on a Friday, a national day off.
In August, Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that a one-way metro ticket for any distance costs EGP 1 even though the real cost is more than EGP 10, adding that the last price increase was 12 years ago.
Egypt has repeatedly said it would raise the price of metro tickets to offset annual losses, but has not yet followed through.
An estimated 3.5 million Egyptians use the metro daily as a fast and inexpensive means of transportation throughout Greater Cairo.
The metro, which operates throughout the capital city and surrounding areas and runs at a speed of 80 kilometres an hour, runs both under and above ground.