Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

New Cairo Public Transportation Accessibility

Figure 1. A map showing old Cairo, New Cairo and the new administrative capital.

Aya Tarek

Urban mobility, accessibility and economic conditions all affect the quality of life. Public transportation is the vein that connects our cities and has a significant impact on our time and money consumption. We believe that the efficiency of public transportation and its accessibility affect the quality of daily life for all types of users.

Therefore, we asked Aya, a resident of New Cairo studying urban planning, mobility and design, to write an article reviewing the efficiency of accessibility towards public transportation in New Cairo and its impact on the economic conditions of different users.


Understanding rapid urbanisation and urban mobility movement is vital in daily life that revolves around people’s accessibility from one location to another. The main principles of urban mobility are based on human needs such as access to housing, employment and education. Mobility plays a significant role in people’s life, liveability, social cohesion, and population growth.

This article studies the design and accessibility of public transport lines in New Cairo and their effect on the quality of life of residents and commuters. The flow of public transportation and daily usage satisfaction will be examined.

Interviews were conducted with three categories of people in New Cairo: a resident teenager and non-resident commuters working in New Cairo, one with a moderate income and the other with a lower income.

Additionally, different categories of urban mobility modes are classified, supported by maps of bus stops showing the connections between public transport lines and observational photos of public transport lines and pedestrian routes accessing them.


Urban mobility concerns the movement of people from one location to another within or across different urban areas. UN-Habitat states the following concerning mobility in the context of urbanisation “mobility is a key dynamic of urbanisation, and the associated infrastructure invariably shapes the urban form – the spatial imprint defined by roads, transport systems, spaces, and buildings”.

Public transport is a mode of urban mobility that helps ordinary people fulfil their needs in the city. The acceptable average walking distance to any form of public transport is between 400 metres and 500 metres.

Public transportation accessibility in the district of New Cairo

The main objective of this article is to study the accessibility of public transport in the district of New Cairo by mapping the urban mobility types and lines (primary and secondary lines).

The secondary objective is to examine the design’s impact on its users’ safety, comfort, and economic status, emphasising the effect on their quality of life.

Given the current situation in many parts of the New Cairo district, this article examines the impact of accessibility to public transport on people’s daily life in terms of urban mobility. The article, therefore, addresses two main questions:

  • What is the importance of urban mobility in people’s lives?
  • How can urban mobility affect residents’, visitors’ and workers’ daily life in New Cairo?

This article focuses on urban mobility in the New Cairo district and its effect on people’s lives. New Cairo’s public transport modes are divided into three categories: bus, minibus, and microbus. There are formal (figures 3&4) and informal stops (figures 5&6). The formal microbus stops are located in the fifth settlement near the Hamid Mosque. The bus station is located on 90th street, near Park Mall (see figure 2).

Although there are different types of public transport available, they are not always accessible. On foot, it takes an average of 35 minutes to reach a bus station from a residential unit. Additionally, streets lack adequate and safe sidewalks, shaded paths, or paved walkways necessary for people’s movements (figures 7&8).

Interviews were conducted with three people representing three categories of New Cairo stakeholders: a resident whose primary daily destination is in New Cairo, a commuter with an average income and a commuter with a relatively lower income, both of whom travel to New Cairo daily.

The first case study concerns a teenage resident called Mohamed, a university student who uses public bus lines daily to go to his university. He was born in a middle-class family with an average income of 10,000 EGP per month.

Mohamed needs to access the main road to take the bus, for which he has two options: take an Uber to reach the nearest bus stop or walk for 35 minutes (2.95 km).

Using Uber twice per day, five days per week, four weeks per month, at an average cost of 25 EGP per ride, Mohamed will need 1000 EGP monthly. As such, he would need ten per cent of the family’s budget to reach the bus stop as part of his daily trip to university.

His second option would be to walk a distance of 2.95 kilometres in approximately 35 minutes to access the bus stop. Figure 9 shows Mohamed’s daily route and the distance to the bus stop.

The second case study involves a banker called Tamer. He does not own a car and therefore commutes daily using a microbus. He has several options to reach the stop closest to his work, one of which is to take a taxi.

A single taxi ride would cost around 20 EGP. Using a taxi twice per day, five days per week, four weeks per month would cost a total of 800 EGP per month.

Considering Tamer’s salary of on average 7,000 EGP per month, he would have to save 11.4 per cent of his salary to access public transportation. His second option would be to walk around 1.8 kilometres to the bank with an average time consumption of 25 minutes per trip, as shown in figure 10.

The last case study regards a housekeeper called Zakia who works in New Cairo five days per week. She takes a minibus from an informal bus stop to her work.

On her way back, she must walk to a bus station at either 3.6 km or 4.7 km from her work (figure 11). The cost of one minivan ride is 10 EGP. Using the minivan


once per day, five days per week, four weeks per month costs Zakia 200 EGP per month. Male commuters have other options available to them, such as motorcycle drop-offs (figure 12).

The interviews have shown that several individuals use their cars to reach the bus station and park it there. The available parking lot, however, is unsafe. Others have seized to use public transport even though it affects their income.

Most people using public transport are commuters with an average or low income. In order to reach their work, they have two options available to them; they can either walk an average of 45 minutes per day or use other means of connection such as motorbikes, taxis, minivans, or Ubers.

The interviewees also noted that the environmental conditions of the streets are poor. Sidewalks reach high temperatures in summer due to a lack of shade and are cold and windy in December and January.

The presence of sidewalks with comfortable and safe pavement is rare. Moreover, several workers mentioned that informal bus stops have no fixed timetables and their locations are subject to change due to their informal nature and subsequent police interference.


The lack of connections between bus stops in the main streets and secondary streets leads to a reduction in the use of public transport in New Cairo, which harmfully impacts on the quality of life of residents, workers and visitors.

It was concluded from the interviews that the most common issue is a lack of easy access to public transport at the individual level, affecting people’s lifestyle in New Cairo. The absence of secondary bus stops affects people’s health and finances, and the district’s liveability.

Individuals like Mohamed, Tamer and Zakia face numerous obstacles in using public transport, such as: time consumption; traffic congestion due to the daily use of private vehicles; the poor condition of sidewalks; long walking distances; and the presence of informal transport bikes, motorbikes and minivans. Moreover, the haphazard structure of urban mobility modes negatively impacts the economic basis and augments financial problems.

In addition to the current population increase in New Cairo, government inaction concerning public transport provision on secondary roads and reduced walking distance to public transport access points will exacerbate the existing issues. From the author’s perspective, the quality of New Cairo’s public transport should be enhanced.

To this end, formal bus lines should be designed to connect primary and secondary roads and limit walking distances to bus stops to a maximum of 500 metres.

Correspondingly, shaded sidewalks should be provided, and street pavement enhanced to increase the comfort and usability of walkways. Additionally, informal bus stops should be transformed into formal bus stations and timetables improved for each mode of transport.

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written by
Kawthar Metwalli
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