Cairo's Attaba Metro Station - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today Cairo's Attaba Metro Station - Photo by Karim Abdel Aziz/Egypt Today

Egypt, EBRD ink €205 million deal to renovate oldest metro line

Fri, Aug. 3, 2018
CAIRO – 3 August 2018: A €205 million ($238 million) deal has been inked between the Egyptian government and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to renovate the oldest line of Cairo’s metro system.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly and Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat witnessed the signing of the deal between Minister of Investment Sahar Nasr from the Egyptian side, and Janet Heckman, Managing Director, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) at the EBRD, said a Thursday statement by the Investment Ministry.

Madbouly assured the government’s keenness to upgrade the transport system, citing the efforts exerted to develop the subway system given that millions of commuters are using it across Cairo.

Inaugurated in 1987, Marg-Helwan line is considered the first metro line in the Egyptian subway system.

The renovation project aims to restructure the railway infrastructure of the first line, railway tracks and renovating the stations. It also includes developing lighting, electromechanically, communication and central control systems.

Transport Minister Arafat explained that the development works of the first line is divided into two phases. As per the agreement, the first phase will cost €751 million: €205 million from EBRD and €350 million from the European Investment Bank (EIB); €50 million from the French Development Agency (AFD) and €146 million will be funded locally.

While the second phase of the renovation includes purchasing mobile units at a cost of €650 million.

In the same context, Arafat discussed on Thursday with Italian Ambassador to Egypt Giampaolo Cantini cooperation in the sectors of railways and metro transportation.

"Egypt's transport sector is witnessing a major development across all its aspects," Arafat said during the meeting that was attended by his advisers.

As the talks touched on cooperation in the metro sector, Arafat shed light on the promising opportunities for Italian companies in this field, namely Metro Line 5.

An urgent and comprehensive plan worth LE 32 billion to raise the efficiency of the oldest metro line running from El-Marg to Helwan, south of Cairo, has been announced last month.

Since May, Cairenes have been charged for using the subway based on the length of each commute. The new fares are LE 3 ($0.17) for the first nine stops, LE 5 for up to 16 stops and LE 7 for more than 16 stops. Before increasing the metro’s fare, the price of the underground tickets had previously been doubled in July 2017 from LE 1 to LE 2 as part of reforms that cut subsidies after the inflation.

The recent move comes as part of the Egyptian government’s austerity measures linked to the three-year loan worth $12 billion secured with the International Monetary Fund.

More than 3.5 million passengers of Greater Cairo’s 21 million residents rely on the subway for their daily travel, according to estimates by the NAT. Ongoing metro extensions are expected to increase the number of commuters to nine million per day.

Nourhan Magdi and MENA contributed to this report
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