CAIRO: Taxis are a way of life in Egypt. From the quick hop down the street to the longer drives across town. They are readily available . Should they agree to drive you. There are more than 50,000 taxis on Cairo’s streets, and the number seems to be growing daily, with the majority of them in disrepair.
Rumors circulating will have us believe that starting from March 2006, there will be new yellow cabs under the name of ‘The Capital Taxi’ instead of the ordinary black and white’s. The new cars will have working meters, air-conditioning and more importantly, well trained, non-smoking drivers. The Daily Star Egypt has been asking how the new taxis, should they materialize, will be received.
Everything has its own advantages and disadvantages. The Capital Taxi’s will be new and air-conditioned. AC is a blessing, especially in Cairo’s summer. But its disadvantage is that of cost. It may be good with hotels and tourists but not with ordinary people. I hope it won’t complicate the traffic problem but I think the answer is in the management of the project. They should spread fewer cars to cover more areas.Ahmad Abdul-Allah, accountant
It will be too expensive. For instance, if I go from Nasr City to Heliopolis I will pay between LE 10 – LE 15, while I pay only LE 5 with the ordinary taxis. It may be good for long distances but not for short ones.Nagwa, house wife
I believe they will make the ordinary taxis much better. The drivers of the black and white taxis have become uncontrollable and they need a wake up call. This new service might be more expensive but it will be worth it. At least the new drivers are trained and will not get lost as happens with the ordinary ones.Ali Ibrahim, commerce student
It is a good idea for tourists but not for ordinary people. It will make the Egyptian capital look better as it is now full of old and ugly taxis. Not all the Egyptian classes will be able to use them. They are more expensive than the ordinary taxis, which many people already can’t afford.Maha, teacher
It is much better for me and many girls. At least it will be ordered by phone and it will come to my home instead of my having to wait in the street. Some streets are impossible and it is a miracle you find a taxi from. Donia, art student
I remember when we had a bid for organizing the 2010 world cup; one of the problems was that Cairo’s taxis looked so bad. The new taxis will be part of a solution.Ahmad Mohsen, medical student
It will not work with Egyptians. Who will pay such fees for a taxi? LE 3 as a basic fee and LE 1 for each kilometer is too much for Egyptians. Many customers can’t afford paying our ordinary fees. It may work out with tourists, but even tourists want to pay less than Egyptians now.Mahmoud Ahmad, taxi driver
They’ve stopped giving licenses for ordinary black and white taxis because there are too many. How come they have added 2,000 extra ones? Aren’t the new transportation companies and microbuses enough for us? Anyway, the Capital Taxi or the devil’s taxi, we are the winners at the end.Shaban, taxi driver