CAIRO: As far as most people are concerned, the traffic problem in Cairo is an unsolved dilemma. This idea may be changing as a result of efforts by traffic police over the past two months. Many people have credited this change to General Ismail Al Shaer, the Ministry of Interior’s assistant who was recently appointed as the new capital security manager. Al Shaer was appointed in early January 2006, just before the African Cup of Nations.
The jury is still out on whether he’s managed to make real change. Though many people appreciate it, others are skeptical and see it as a fleeting stage that they attribute to a new official wanting to make his presence known. Drivers agree, however, that nobody can ignore the fact that something has happened. As opinion seems to be divided about the state of Egypt’s traffic, The Daily Star Egypt took to the streets to ask drivers what they have to say about the changes.
There have been good changes. There is more discipline and regular license checking; it happened with me twice over the last month. Egyptian people follow rules only when there is punishment involved. The seat belt law is a perfect example. Now I feel that there will be proper punishment for breaking rules.Islam, engineer
The flow of traffic has improved. That is something we can all feel. For two weeks now I have been leaving my house in the morning 10 minutes later than usual, because the traffic is better.Ahmed, accountant
The traffic has become even worse. All these police forces in the streets are unbelievable. It is not a civilized scene to see policemen and officers wherever you go.Sarah, student
Thank God we now have a person who was finally able to make officers work properly. The low ranking policemen used to take money from the microbuses and us. Now, we don’t give any policemen any money, since the high-ranking officers are there in the streets. Ahmad, taxi driver
There is a lot of talk about the new Cairo security manager. I don’t know his name but we can see a change on the streets. The best comment I heard was from an officer when he said that so long as the big guy is always in the streets checking on everything, we can’t rest on our desks.Fouad, civil servant
I don’t know what happened, but there is a change in the streets. The traffic is better and there are a lot of policemen everywhere. What I really noticed was the disappearance of double parking. This used to drive me crazy, because even the wide streets used to be obstructed by four lines of parked cars, two on both sides. But we have to admit that the traffic problem can’t be solved at all in some streets, like Salah Salem, Autostrad and 6th of October Bridge.Eman, housewife
Even if the traffic is better, we still look for more. The microbuses are disgusting. They run everywhere and park anywhere. Furthermore, the increased number of officers in the street affects my nerves. It makes me always think that there is a problem and I have to run home. Can’t discipline be reached with less police?Omneya, engineer The views expressed in Word on the Street do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Star Egypt.