Covid-19 Impacts on Public Transport - Cairo, Egypt

  • Reduced operations: March 25 - present
  • Service suspension: 24 – 29 May, 2020 (Eid week)
  • Reduced operating hours: 5:00 AM -7:00 PM
  • Ridership: 55% drop
  • Precautionary measures:
    • Mandatory face masks
    • Disinfection of buses 6-10 times per day

Lockdown measures have severely affected public transport operations in Cairo, Egypt, where the Eid week in mid-May witnessed a complete lockdown and halt of bus, metro and intercity rail operations.

Bus operator Mwasalat Misr has reported severe financial losses due to a 55% decrease in ridership compared to the same period in 2019. This led to laying off a fifth of the entire operation manpower, which were mostly recently hired and on probation for the operation of new routes. Managers and supervisors faced partial salary reductions while maintaining minimum income for drivers and technicians.

A daily curfew implemented by the Egyptian Government led to adjusted and shorter operation hours. As a result, Mwasalat Misr has deployed smaller 8-m buses to ensure higher frequency and lower cost of operation, while sanitizing buses up to ten times a day and offering discounts on contactless payment in efforts to reduce the utilization of cash.

Government efforts to support the industry during the crisis has included tax postponement and facilities on loan installments while the monthly concession fees to the Cairo Transport Authority are currently under negotiation.

A gradual 10% monthly increase in ridership is forecasted to eventually reach a “new adjusted normal”.