Egypt's third metro line (Photo: Al-ahram)
Egypt signed an agreement with the Canadian company Bombardier on Tuesday for the financing and construction of Line 6 of Greater Cairo's metro, state-run news agency MENA reported.
The deal was announced by Transportation Minister Hesham Arafat, who said the project will reduce pressure on the metro's existing Line 1.
The new route will be 20 kilometers in length, with a total of 24 stations, 12 of them underground, with an initial cost estimate of $4 billion.
The deal, which was signed between the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation (ECMMO) and Bombardier, stipulates that at least 40 percent of the materials used must be produced in Egypt, thereby promoting local production.
The proposed line will run from northern Cairo, near the ring road, then head south, passing through Greater Cairo's Shubra El-Kheima and New Maadi, ending at the start of Ain El-Sokhna Road.
"The ministry will speed up the implementation of the metro's Line 6 to reduce pressure on Line 1," the minister was quoted as saying.
However, Tuesday's statement did not set a specific time frame for the contsruction project.
Arafat explained that Line 6 will intersect with Line 1 at Ghamra station and Line 4 at Fustat station.
He added that the capacity of Line 1 is 1.8 million passengers, yet it carries 2 million passengers a day.
Line 6 will accommodate around half a million passengers, he said.
Arafat said that the ministry is implementing a number of metro projects simultaneously.
There are currently three metro lines operating, with Lines 4 and 5 still under construction.
Egypt increased the metro-ticket price to EGP 2 in March. The ticket price will range between EGP 2 and EGP 4 by the last quarter of 2018, depending on the trip distance, the minister said in press statements early this week.
According to estimates by the country's national tunnels authority, over 3.5 million of Greater Cairo's 21 million inhabitants rely on the metro for their daily travel, partly due to its low cost.
Cairo’s underground system, launched in 1987, is one of the oldest in the Middle East and Africa.