Cairo is set to launch more routes for a new batch of smart buses next month, part of a collaboration between the Egyptian government and a private company to improve public transportation in the congested capital.
The vehicles will be operated by the Egyptian Advanced Company for Public Transportation (also known as Misr Bus), while Egypt's General Transport Authority will oversee their operation.
The first group of the "high-quality" buses, which officials say are similar to those which operate in many European cities, were put into service in July and August.
The program's initial routes fall along four lines, serving areas such as Shubra, Cairo International Airport, downtown's Ramses, Heliopolis, and Obour City.
By the end of November, 16 new buses and 40 microbuses will serve six new routes, Cairo governor Atef Abdel-Hamid said on Tuesday.
The new air-conditioned buses are fitted with a number of high-tech features including free Wi-Fi, USB sockets for passengers' mobile chargers, CCTV cameras, entertainment screens, and digital displays showing upcoming stops.
Passengers can track bus availability and arrival time through a mobile application.
The buses will also feature smartcard technology which can hold pay-as-you-go credit for riders.
The governor's remarks, reported by state-run news agency MENA, came during his meeting with officials from Misr Bus and the Emirates National Group, which holds 70% ownership in the company.
The city's public buses are notorious for low maintenance and overcrowding and are rarely used by the upper social classes, resulting in an increasing number of private cars that can overcrowd streets in Greater Cairo, which is home to some 22.8 million people.
Officials say the new buses aim to attract a larger segment of citizens and encourage private car owners to leave their vehicles at home.
Two of the bus lines will run from New Cairo to the Mazallat district and Heliopolis, passing through downtown Cairo.
Three of the minibus lines will run from the Cairo International Airport to areas including Zamalek, Imbaba, Shubra, and Heliopolis; the fourth line will run from Obour City to 10th of Ramadan City and Heliopolis.
The new buses are part of the company's EGP 1 billion plan to bring a total of 180 buses and minibuses into operation along 18 lines across greater Cairo, the company said in a statement reported by local media on Tuesday.
In addition to the privately owned buses, the General Transport Authority plans to bring into operation over 160 more European-style buses, including double-deckers, with the same features in 2018, the authority's head Rizk Ali told Ahram Online in a July interview.