Heliopolis metro station, inaugurated earlier this week as part of the fourth phase of Greater Cairo’s third metro line, is located in Heliopolis Square. The 10,000 square metre station is 28 metres below street level and cost LE1.9 billion to build.
“The new metro station has made my life much easier,” said Mohamed, a student returning from his daily commute to Cairo University. “The 18-stop ride from Giza to Heliopolis station takes just 25 minutes, including changing lines at Attaba.” The same journey by taxi, he added, never took less than an hour and sometimes much longer, depending on traffic.
Fatma Mohamed, who lives close to the station, was particularly pleased to see that automatic ticket vending machines had been installed. “Standing in endless queues to buy tickets during the rush hour will now be a thing of the past,” she said.
During the inauguration ceremony Minister of Transport Kamel Al-Wazir said half the ground area of the station comprised commercial units which will be rented out to generate revenue, and promised no further increases in the ticket prices in the foreseeable future .
Two additional stations are scheduled to open in Heliopolis in December, and the entire phase will be operational by April 2020.
Al-Wazir revealed that feasibility studies on a 3.5km extension to connect the third line to Cairo Airport at a cost of LE1.5 billion are ongoing. The overall cost of the fourth phase is estimated to come in at around LE16 billion, bringing the cost of the entire line to LE97 billion.
Work is underway on the westward extension of the line which currently terminates at Attaba. A 4km stretch from Attaba to Kit Kat station, taking in four stations, is expected to be inaugurated in December 2002. A 6.6km extension from Kit Kat to Rod Al-Farag Axis, with six stations, will be inaugurated in June 2022 while the final 7.1km of line from Kit Kat to Cairo University, with five stations, is due to open in 2023.
When complete, the third line will create a 45km long east-west link across the city. It intersects with the two existing metro lines, and will connect with the planned monorail from Al-Salam city to the New Administrative Capital.
When fully operational, the third line will have a capacity of more than 3.5 million passengers a day.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.