Metro Authority announces new strategy to remove vendors from stations
Street Vendors near by Helwan Metro station - YOUM7/Hussien Tallal

CAIRO:  Authorities are adopting new measures to remove vendors selling their goods in Greater Cairo’s Metro system.

Head of the National Authority for Tunnels Maj. Gen. Ismail Al-Nagdy announced in statements that Metro vendors, who frequently hawk their wares on Metro cars, will be controlled within the coming months.

Nagdy said during an interview on the “El-Sada el-Mohtarameen” (Respectable Gentlemen) television show Wednesday that they are considering adding different entrances and security dogs to current security methods inside Metro stations.

Ali Fadali, head of the Metro Company said Saturday to Youm7 that they have announced new plans to rid the stations completely of vendors among the Metro’s three lines. “We scheduled a plan to exclude them completely from the Metro stations gradually,” he said.

Fadali said they will cooperate with police, especially on the First Line to control vendors.

The existence of the vendors inside Metro stations has become a source of nuisance to the government and citizens as well, he said.

“They are blocking the entrance of many stations, which isn’t acceptable,” Fadali said.

He added that the vendors “control” specific stations, including Ghamra, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Demrdash and Mataria, and those will be the first stations where they are removed.

The Metro’s take on vendor “problems” coincides with addressing its recent dire financial difficulties.

“We are thinking of alternative solutions to overcome the financial problems that the authority is facing, including making advertisement deals in the stations instead of raising tickets prices, as was announced before,” Nagdy said.

Nagdy told Sabah al-Tahrir television show last month that the ticket price hike was necessary. “We are leaning towards raising the Metro ticket price,” Nagdy said. “We have to be honest with the people.”

He added that the authority ran a deficit of around 180 million EGP ($25.16 million) in July. “The real cost of the ticket is 8 EGP and we are considering raising the current cost by one more pound, as we think that it is the only possible solution,” Nagdy said.

Currently, Metro ticket prices stand at a fixed 1 EGP per trip, regardless of length.

“We receive a lot of complaints from the first line of the Metro, including that there is no ventilation system, and some describe it as ‘inhuman,’ and well, they are right,” Nagdy said.

He added in other statements on Al-Hayah television channel last month that the rise in the cost of tickets would be used to play public music on the commuter line, which drew wide criticism.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, however, denied that the Metro ticket price would be increased during a meeting with press figures on Sunday, Aug. 24.

“Ticket prices will not be raised in recognition of the economic difficulties faced by those who use the Metro,” Sisi said.

He added that if transportation subsidies were lifted, it would raise the cost of Metro tickets from their current 1 EGP to 9 EGP.

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