Ministry of Transportation spokesman Ahmed Ibrahim denied Sunday minister Saad Al-Geoshy’s statement concerning raising the price of the metro ticket, claiming it is false and “misinterpreted by media personnel”.
The minister had originally meant the ministry is still in the planning stages and has not yet reached a decision. “The minister said the addition was just a suggestion, not a final decision,” Ibrahim said.
In an interview Saturday with privately owned channel Al-Hayyah, Al-Geaoshy said the ministry is planning to raise the prices of the tickets. He said the unsubsidised price of the ticket in the proposal is EGP 3 for air conditioned cars and EGP 2 for non-air conditioned metro cars.
Ibrahim said the minister made it clear that any decision taken will not affect “lower income citizens, students, and disabled individuals”.
Concerning the legislative procedures, if a raise in price is decided upon, Ibrahim said that upon finishing the proposal, the ministry will present it to the cabinet, who will later present it to the Parliament. The Parliament is entitled to either accept or refuse the change.
During the interview, Al-Geoshy said the raise will be applied with an increase of 10% every year to be on the same level as inflation. He said the system will be applied based on the number of stations the rider is passing through. He stated: “This is the real social justice we are aiming for, so we can provide subsidised goods and services to those who deserve it.”
Since December 2014, government officials have released conflicting reports on the price hike, with discussions at the Ministry of Transportation evolving around the possible increase to cover the company’s deficit.
However, both the ministry and the Egyptian Company for Metro Management denied they had received orders to raise the ticket prices and confirmed it is up to the Parliament to decide.
Last August, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi commented on the need to develop and undertake maintenance work on “state services” and that metro services lost over EGP 150m last year.
A total of EGP 80bn is required to fund the wider expansion of Egypt’s metro network, which also entails building the second phase of the third metro line in Cairo, Al-Sisi said. The new metro phase is planned to link the neighbourhoods of Heliopolis, Ain Shams, and Imbaba with central Cairo and Cairo International Airport.
The possible rise in the EGP 1 ticket has formerly sparked a wave of condemnation by political groups and activists, who accused the government of inefficiently running public sector projects and following unfair economic policies.
The condemnations were repeated after Al-Geoshy’s statements Saturday. A campaign called “The Uprising of the Poor’s Metro” has called upon activists and metro users to stage peaceful demonstrations inside stations, in the case that ticket prices increase, warning that an escalation might include “peaceful mobilisation in the streets”.