Gov’t seeks to minimize fee impact of rising fuel costs
Transportation Minister Hany Dahy - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb
By RANDA EL-BANNA

CAIRO: The Egyptian government’s decision to increase fuel prices to reduce the 240 billion EGP ($33.5 billion) national budget deficit will not have major ramifications on the cost of Metro tickets, train tickets or public bus transport tickets according to Transportation Minister Hany Dahy in comments to Al-Shorouq Saturday. 

Dahy said this is because the government will not allow public transport companies to misuse the increase in fuel prices. However, Dahy also said bus tickets may increase up to 0.08 EGP per 50 kilometers in a minor increase in response to fuel price hikes.

“We will not allow the prices rumored in the last few hours and prices will be monitored firmly,” he said.

Helwan Metro Station head Ahmed Ismail echoed Dahy’s comments when he told The Cairo Post Saturday he had received no orders to increase the price of Metro tickets.

But, Cairo Governor Galal Mostafa al-Said did approve an increase in public transportation fees within Cairo. “The percentage of increase in the transportation fee is 15 percent to 20 percent for all distances and there will be continuous monitoring of the new fee,” the state-run MENA quoted Said as saying Saturday.

Said also added there will be an increase in the fees of white Cairo taxis that use meters to tally fees. The new starting fee of white taxis will start at 3 EGP instead of 2.50 EGP and the fee for every kilometer after that will be 1.40 EGP instead of the current 1.25 EGP, MENA reported.

The Menoufia governorate will also increase public transportation fees Al-Wafd reported Saturday. The increase will be an extra 0.25 EGP on all fees for public transportation within the governorate. They also decided to increase the fee of public transportation travel between Menoufia and Cairo by 0.50 EGP and from Menoufia to Alexandria by 0.75 EGP.

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab held a meeting with taxi, bus and public transportation representatives to reach an agreement to hold the rise in transportation fees to between 5 to 10 percent of current transportation fees, the official Facebook page for the Cabinet posted Friday.

However, taxi drivers staged protests and roadblocks in different parts of the country Saturday to protest the rise in fuel costs and the subsequent fee hikes. Some drivers were reported by social media activists as saying the removal of subsidies could cause a “revolution of the hungry.”

But, cabinet spokesman Hossam Qaweesh dismissed the outrage in an interview on Tahrir channel Saturday, and said that poor people will not be affected by the increase in fuel prices because “they do not own cars.” He also defended the government’s decision to reform the subsidy system by saying that even though subsidies were increased last year, the percentage of the population living in poverty increased, indicating the subsidies are not reaching those who need them.

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