Cairo - Post Report Question and Answers

Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not allowed to use public transportation. We use Uber or we WhatsApp a guy with a car who is RSO-cleared. - Mar 2023

Mission members are not allowed to take the local buses, metro, or trains. Taxis are cheap. Many do not have seatbelts, so you may have to hold out for one that does. - Aug 2022

Taxis are safe and affordable. Uber is as well. Embassy employees are currently not allowed to ride buses or metro or trains, but European diplomats use them and say it's very easy. - Aug 2022

The metro is quite nice and convenient, however currently banned for diplomatic families. Ubers and taxis are very safe and affordable, we often choose these over driving ourselves to avoid the stress of driving and parking in this city. - Mar 2022

There are local buses and metros, but embassy people don't use them. White taxis are safe, but you need to negotiate the price before getting in. There is also London Cab, but pricey. Uber is safe and affordable, but I have heard of some women being harassed in them though I never experienced it. - Dec 2021

Trains and local buses are off-limits to embassy personnel. Ubers are usually good but good luck getting one with a working seatbelt. Taxis are ok, but barter your price before you get in, they also usually do not have working seat belts. Both Uber and taxi drivers may smoke in their vehicles. They are very affordable. - Feb 2021

Ubers are great. Taxis will definitely try to overcharge you if you've got the foreign look. - Nov 2020

We cannot use many of these, but the ubers are affordable and at least somewhat reliable. They can be frustrating at times, but it has not been too troublesome to use them. - Jan 2020

We're not allowed to take any form of public transit here, so no busses, mini-busses, trains, or metro. Taxis/Uber are pretty cheap. Taxis mostly are metered now which makes the process much easier. Uber is frustrating because no one knows how to read a map (really) and few drivers understand GPS so even when you drop the pin exactly where you are standing, the driver will call you and ask you to give them directions from wherever they are. I usually just take regular taxis because those drivers are at least professionals and I've found that they know their way around the city a lot better than the kids who drive for Uber. - Jun 2018

Taxis are safe and very cheap. Uber is popular. Often taxi drivers do not know where they're going (including Uber as many can't read maps) and you'll need to navigate. Knowing a few words like left, right, stop here, straight ahead in Arabic is handy. US embassy personnel are not allowed to use the Metro, trains or local buses. I gather the Metro works well. Buses are very crowded and drive crazy. It is also cheap to hire a car and driver for the day if you have a lot of errands or for sightseeing. Many people drive themselves as well. Within Maadi, I walk most places. - Jan 2018

Yes, very affordable. Taxis are prevalent in Cairo and it's very easy to hail one pretty much any time of day or night. They are very affordable but be careful about using them because taxi drivers will often try to take advantage of foreigners. All taxis should have meters but many drivers will claim that the meter is broken. Also, many drivers will claim that they do not have change so make sure to carry small bills when you use taxis.

Uber was my favorite transport option in Cairo. Its prices were comparable to taxis and there was never any haggling or money exchanged, the cars tended to be nicer and the drivers used the GPS function embedded in Uber. GPS isn't always reliable in Cairo but will usually work if you're going to well-known neighborhoods or sites. - Sep 2017

Security limits precluded me from using the subway, but other expats did. I took taxis and Uber on a regular basis without any issue. If you take a taxi, negotiate the price when you get in (or before) and try to have small change to cover the fare. Taxis should be metered. - May 2017

Yes except the small mini buses. Never use these. Make sure the taxi driver has the meter on. - May 2017

There is Uber and it generally works well. Taxis are ubiquitous (it rarely took more than 30 seconds to get one) and are super cheap - often only a dollar or two. The taxis you get on the street rarely have seatbelts and the drivers do not always have that much knowledge of driving or of the streets of Cairo, but most people have a list of specific drivers they call; we usually used one who was reasonably priced and had a nice car with seatbelts. We were not allowed to take public transportation although our non-government friends often took the metro; per them it is unpleasant (crowded and stinky) but fast and cheap. There are a few boat taxis on the Nile but you usually have to arrange them ahead of time; however they were expanding these when we left. - Jan 2016

Uber is available and reliable. - Jan 2016

The Metro is fast and cheap, but is quite limited in its coverage and downtown stations were closed for security when we were there. Taxis are plentiful. - Jan 2016

We aren't allowed to take the trains, buses, and metro right now. Taxis are safe, though we are told that the white taxis are the safest. Make sure to name your price at the beginning or have the taxi driver turn on the meter. Just around Maadi is less than a dollar, so, yes- it's affordable. - Oct 2014

The trains and buses are not safe and the U.S. Embassy currently (as of August 2014) prohibits such travel. Taxis are affordable but I worry about our safety or being able to communicate with the driver. It is pretty affordable to hire a driver. - Aug 2014

Taxis are cheap, the White taxis have meters, but sometimes the driver "forgets", so remind him to put the meter on to avoid an unpleasant altercation. As I have said, traffic is awful and the driving technique is something out of a horror movie - NO regard for lanes, passing on left and right, sketchy maneuvers at high speed, drivers hanging out the window yelling at each other at high speeds, tailgating at high speeds...and sometimes it is your cab driver who is behaving badly, so it is best to use a cab driver you know or that comes recommended because otherwise you might be in the car with a lunatic driver and I speak from personal experience. The Metro is actually a great way to get around, fare= @ 20 cents. There is a "women's only car." - Aug 2014

There are many accidents on trains. There is supposed to be a nice train between Cairo and Alexandria that a lot of expats use. Taxis are generally safe, but not knowledgeable about directions! Look for orange license plate and white taxis only. Metro is awesome to avoid traffic jams to get to downtown - but often crowded and women-only cars get full. - May 2014

Taxis are marginally unsafe, and getting more so. We are not allowed to take local trains, buses, or the metro. - Apr 2014

No, all are forbidden. - Mar 2014

Yes. Metro and taxis are cheap, easy, and safe. I rode the metro daily and never had a problem. I've heard reports of taxi incidents like drivers pulling knives, rapings, etc. Thankfully this has not happened to me but it is highly possible. You get to know particular drivers whom you can trust and call. - Jul 2013

Yes they are affordable, and some of them are safe. Metro and white cabs are fine and cheap (the metro is 1 EGP a ride; that's 17 cents). Black-and-white taxis are less reliable, and god help you if you decided to take a microbus or a tuk-tuk. - Jul 2013

Absolutely not safe. Buses are very dangerous. Trains are poorly maintained and have a lot of accidents. I have personally been mugged by taxi drivers, and I know several other people who have as well. There is one taxi driver who does perverted things near the schools. You are really taking your life in your hands when you go near those guys. - Jun 2013

The train from Cairo to Alexandria is quick (2.5 hours), regular, cheap ($15) and clean. Sometimes Embassy personnel are not allowed to take the train depending upon disturbances. Mini buses in the city are consider unsafe and Embassy personnel are not allowed to take them. Taxis are (kind of) safe (no seat belts) and very, very cheap. The metro is safe and clean - although hot in the summer. - Jun 2013

The local train or subway (Metro) is safe. Most taxis are safe, but women should be careful in the taxis when solo. Stay off the buses, both large and small. - May 2013

They are not safe. - May 2013

Trains for work are fine --- a bit stinky and crowded, but cheap and fast --- and very affordable. Buses? No way! Taxis are generally safe, although single women need to be careful. - May 2013

Trains in Egypt are fine - I've taken the train between Cairo and Alexandria multiple times and have taken trains in Upper Egypt as well. However, depending on political issues, the USG may place restrictions on where you can go by train. Local buses are off-limits to USG employees, and I know of only a few non-USG expats that are willing (or brave enough) to take them. Taxis are affordable and generally safe, although there has been an increase in robberies in taxis since the revolution. Most folks get names of taxi drivers from friends, etc. and use those drivers. Many expats prefer only the white taxis because they are metered, but I've had no significant issues with the older unmetered black taxis, provided I know what the fare should be to where I am going and negotiate it out prior to getting into the cab. Regardless of where you go in Maadi, the fare should not be more that 5 Egyptian pounds, so I don't even negotiate on that. - Feb 2013

I avoid all of them. None are safe for different reasons, although all are cheap. Train accidents occur more frequently than I'm comfortable with, buses are always crammed, and taxis are not at all advised for women traveling alone. It's good to find one driver you trust and use him to the extent you can. People use the Metro in Cairo. It's not everybody's cup of tea, though, and Metro stops can become flashpoints for protests. It is essential that you follow the news on what's going on where and when. - Feb 2013

We avoid the trains as they often are targeted by criminals and stopped. They are not safe! Mini-buses: never! You have to beware of the taxis and what they charge, or they will rip you off. Ask for - Mar 2013

Post policy does not allow for the use of buses or trains due to security concerns. Metro is allowed, although stations also serve as gathering areas for protestors. Travel outside Cairo after dark is prohibited. - Mar 2013

Buses are absolutely not safe and should be avoided. Taxis are not at all a good idea for women traveling alone, or for anyone without some level of Arabic. Trains are not safe. They fall off the tracks, and train stations in Alexandria are popular sites for riots. The train station in Cairo is definitely not safe and not navigable by non-Arabic speaker. Prices on all the above are affordable, though. - Feb 2013

Buses? Forget it, unless you want to get groped and/or robbed. Taxis are great and very cheap, but be careful if you are a woman. - Jan 2013

White taxis are safe. Avoid black taxis (no meter). The Metro can be used with viligence, and there are busses, but I don't believe we are to take them. Walking is big around Maadi. Taxi's and the Metro are very affordable! - Nov 2012

Taxis are very cheap, but often poor condition and without seatbelts. The Metro is very cheap, but hot in the summer. Difficult to take the metro with a small child, and occasionally women have trouble taking the metro alone, although there are women-designated cars. No reputable bus system. - Sep 2011

Stay away from buses and the ubiquitous blue-and-white minivans. The Metro train is safe and cheap (20 cents one way), and taxis are cheap. Negotiate the fare with black taxis; white taxis are metered. - Aug 2011

Avoids most large and micro buses and tuk tuks. Taxis are everywhere and inexpensive by US standards. - Aug 2011

All are affordable. The Metro is fast and convenient depending on where you want to go, but avoid buses and mini-buses, which once you see them, you will know why. Keep track of your purse/pockets. Taxis are everywhere and are affordable and the newer ones have meters and air conditioning! It will cost $1 for a short ride and around $6 for a longer ride (30-45 minutes). - Jul 2011

The Metro system is reliable, if sketchy and unnerving. Taxis are plentiful and very cheap, but most of the time they are in poor condition. The new white ones are very nice. The buses and micro-buses are not used by Mission employees and Westerners in general. - Jun 2011

The Cairo metro is safe and the fastest way to get downtown from Maadi. The Alexandria train is a nice way to get to visit Alexandria. The newer taxis (white) are modern and comfortable, but the older black/white taxis are scary. Both should get you downtown (a 40-minute trip) for about five dollars. - Sep 2010

Taxis are everywhere. They are cheap but they have no a/c and no seatbelts. - Jun 2010

The best way to travel to Alexandria is by train (about $15 round trip). There is also an overnight train to Luxor and Aswan. Cairo has a metro system which is extremely cheap (18 cents to anywhere on the metro), and there are women-only cars. It is crowded and dirty, but it can be a lot faster than traffic, and you can't beat the price! Taxis are abundant and cheap, and recently the government has been introducing metered cabs to avoid haggling over fares. USG employees are not permitted to take minibuses or public city buses (you probably wouldn't want to anyway). - Dec 2009

Yes, black and whites are always in a state of disrepair, but they work for short trips and are very cheap. - May 2008

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