By Islam Atris
The Vice President of the Railway Authority’s Bureau for Financial and Economic Affairs, Yehia Ibrahim, said that the authority requested a loan of EGP 320 million from the National Investment Bank in the third quarter of this year to begin construction of a new facility.
Ibrahim spoke of a report that was being prepared outlining the Authority’s plans to create three new companies, one for long travel, one for short travel, and the third specialising in the transportation of freight.
“The recent suggestion to establish the new companies will lead to a rise in the Authority’s revenues and increase the amount of annual freight being shipped to 400 million tonnes after 10 years,” said Ibrahim, adding that an “ideal level of investment that included improvements in infrastructure in addition to the purchasing of trains and tractors would be EGP 27 billion.”
Ibrahim claimed it would be necessary to raise the price of tickets during the early hours of the morning and late at night in addition to both religious and government holidays as means of better distributing the number of passengers riding trains during different times of the day.
The authority was also considering introducing Wi-Fi and air conditioning on some trains, in addition to providing access to satellite television. “We will be holding bids for private companies who sought to help provide access to such services. This, combined with the rising price of tickets, would lead to an increase in revenues for Egypt’s railway system.” he added.
The current cabinet has called for the immediate construction of 150 new ramps, with EGP 200 million allotted from the Ministries of Finance and Planning and International Co-operation to begin development on this project.
The Ministry of Transportation asked the Ministries of Local Development in twelve different provinces to undertake a series of construction projects aimed at converting 27 ramps into raised bridges or underground tunnels. The Ministry asked that funding for all above stated projects come from the budget of each province.
“These expenditures would not be approved until the second and third quarter of the 2012-2013 year, and would be used to guarantee the safety and efficiency of the nation’s rail system,” said Ibrahim