CAIRO, March 23 Egypt doubled the price of
tickets for millions of commuters on Cairo's loss-making metro
on Thursday, angering residents already hit by a sharp rise in
Transport Minister Hisham Arafat said the increase to 2
Egyptian pounds (11 U.S. cents), effective from Friday, followed
losses of 500 million pounds which put the network at risk,
state-owned newspaper Al Ahram reported.
The move comes four months after Egypt floated the pound
under an economic reform programme which secured it billions of
dollars of loans from the International Monetary Fund - and led
the currency to lose half its value and prices to soar.
"All prices have gone up," said Mona Yasin, a 27-year-old
masters student leaving a metro station on Mohamed Farid street
in central Cairo.
"What is happening exactly? We can't find medicine or any of
the necessary goods in the market, and every time they blame it
on the (high price of the) dollar," she said.
"Everyone takes the metro - can you live without money?"
The minimum wage in Egypt, which is not always enforced, is
1,200 Egyptian pounds ($66) a month. The government statistics
agency said that 28 percent of Egyptians earned less than $2 a
day in 2015.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said in December that
Egyptians were coping well with challenges, but he is facing
increasing pressure to revive the economy and get prices back
under control. Last month Egypt's urban consumer price inflation
hit 30 percent, its highest level in 30 years.
"I earn only 1,000 pounds a month, which is not even the
minimum wage," said 31-year-old Amal, who works in a printing
house and said she had put off her wedding because she could not
afford to buy simple household goods.
"People are suffering. This is the cheapest and easiest
means of transportation and they raised its price".
Other passengers complained that the metro, which was opened
30 years ago, had deteriorated over time and they hoped the
extra money would make a difference.
"Two pounds is OK, but only if they improve the service. The
service is very bad, there are a lot of delays during rush
hour," said Mohamed Ezzat, a 43-year-old accountant.
($1 = 18.1800 Egyptian pounds)
(Reporting by Amina Ismail,; Editing by Dominic Evans and Ed