Shohadaa (Martrys) Metro Station in Cairo (Photo: AP)
Egypt's Minister of Transportation Hesham Arafat said in an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper on Sunday that ticket prices for Cairo’s metro system are expected to see a gradual increase reaching up to EGP 4 by the last quarter of 2018.
Railway ticket prices will also see an increase, but not before the completion of ongoing development and renovation projects worth EGP 45 billion, according to Arafat.
Arafat said that the Egyptian National Railway has suffered the most from the latest increase in fuel prices after the government slashed fuel subsidies.
Arafat said that the hike in fuel prices is costing the railway an additional EGP 300 million annually. He clarified, however, that the expected increase in metro and railway ticket prices is not the result of the increased fuel costs, but rather the cost of maintenance work.
Egypt saw an increase in the price of standard single-fare metro tickets in March, doubling the price to EGP 2. According to the minister, the ticket price will range between EGP 2 and EGP 4 by the last quarter of 2018, depending on the trip distance.
The move came following a series of proposals in recent years to increase ticket prices in order to fix the financial woes of Cairo's vital underground service.
Arafat says that the latest increase in electricity prices will also impact railway services, adding that that the due date for paying the railway system’s debts has been extended from the end of 2018 to 2019.
"In addition to maintenance operations on the first metro line, which will cost EGP 24 billion, the third line [maintenance] will cost 80 EGP, as well as EGP 30 billion for the fourth line,” Arafat said, adding that these projects are set to be completed by 2019.
“All these projects show the state’s interest in improving metro and railway services and transportation in general.”
Last Month, Egypt’s cabinet announced a cut in energy subsidies, resulting in an increase in fuel prices.
The price of diesel fuel, primarily used in railway locomotives, increased from EGP 2.35 to EGP 3.65.
In 2014, Egypt started a programme to gradually lift domestic electricity subsidies.
Electricity subsidies were set to be eliminated entirely by the end of the 2018/19 fiscal year, starting in July. However, the phase-out plan has been extended to the 2021/22 fiscal year in order to ease the economic burden faced by Egyptians since the floatation of the pound in November, the minister said.