CAIRO: The Ministry of Transportation has decided to extend the operating hours of Cairo’s underground metro to 2.15 am during the holy month of Ramadan, instead of the usual 1.15 am.
The ministry has also decided to increase the frequency of trains before iftar, which marks the end of the daily fast during Ramadan, in a bid to reduce the overcrowding of the metro and help people reach their destination in time for iftar.
The decision, which increases the metro’s operating hours to 21 hours a day, is also meant to help people navigate through Cairo more easily before sohur, the last meal for Muslims before starting a new day of fasting at dawn.
The head of the Egyptian Metro Services Company, Mohammed Sheimy, said in a statement issued by the metro company that “the number of metro trips on [the] Helwan-El Marg line will increase from 501 trips to 526, while the number of trips on [the] Shubra El Kheima-El Moneib line will increase from 620 trips to 670.”
“The difference between each metro and the [next will] be 4 minutes during rush hour and 6 minutes until the end of operation hours on [the] Helwan-El Marg line, while on [the] Shubra El Kheima-El Moneib line, the difference will be 3 minutes between each metro and the next during rush hour and 5 minutes until the end of the operation hours,” he added.
The statement added that the metro drivers have been given orders to prolong the amount of time they wait in their stops to give passengers a chance to get on and off the metro, which is usually a chaotic scene.
Reham Awaad, a frequent user of the metro from Shubra El-Kheima to Downtown Cairo, welcomed the ministry’s decision. “This is a great decision,” Awaad told Daily News Egypt.
“The metro is the main means of transport people use during Ramadan, because other public transport above the ground are too crowded and too slow,” she added.
But Sherif Bahgat, a daily user of the metro on the Helwan-El Marg line, was skeptical as to whether this decision would lead to any tangible difference.
“They always say they’re going to increase the metro trips, but even when they do, it’s still always too crowded and there’s not any room to stand in,” Bahgat told Daily News Egypt.
The number of ticket booths will also increase during Ramadan to avoid the long, sometimes hectic process passengers have to go through to purchase tickets.
The statement also stipulates that security will be increased in the metro stations during Ramadan to maintain order and prevent any unseemly behavior.
“In Ramadan, people are usually very irritable and short-tempered because they are hungry, and now with the heat, things will probably be worse,” Wael Adel, a daily user of the metro, told Daily News Egypt.
“This is a great decision by the ministry. I hope they implement it all year round, not just during Ramadan,” he added.