Metro commuters carrying heavy bags will be fined 100 EGP: Transport min.
Passengers are seen boarding the carriages of the new metro line in Cairo on February 21, 2012, linking the central Ataba district with the subrub of Abbasiya, two of the Egyptian capital's busiest neighborhoods. AFP
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CAIRO: The Ministry of Transport has recently announced a fine of 100 EGP ($12.77) on passengers carrying heavy bags into metro stations, a decision that has created a controversy on social media.

In a phone call to Mehwar TV channel Friday, Transport Minister Saad el-Geoushy said the reason behind the decision is to avoid overcrowding inside the metro, which carries “three million commuters every day.”

“The demand on the metro is growing now by six million commuters,” Geoushy said, adding that the growing demand has prompted the ministry to seek finishing the construction of the fifth and sixth lines years before the pre set timeframe.

Imposing the fine on large bags is considered as a “deterrence punishment,” commented Geoushy, explaining that the bags occupy space allocated to commuters.

The decision was slammed by social media users as millions of passengers across Egypt, who use train traveling across Egypt, use the metro to reach to either Giza or Ramses railway stations.

Some metro stations like Giza and Ramsis are located near train stations, the reason some social media users slammed the decision, as many commuters carry their bags onto the metro on their way to/from train stations.

In February, fines between 15 EGP ($1.80) to 100 EGP ($12) were announced to punish passengers who bring their pets in Cairo metro.

In addition to the already prohibited flammable liquids or weapons, the transport ministry will also prohibit rolling suitcases, bicycles, large appliances and large cardboard boxes.

Geoushy noted that some 13 air-conditioned carriages have been recently imported to improve the service.

Egypt has begun renewing its metro vehicles through importing new air-conditioned carriages from South Korea as part of a deal to export 20 trains purchased from Hyundai Rotem for 2.2 billion EGP ($288.8 million.) At least eight new carriages were operated on the metro’s oldest line that runs from Helwan to Marg.

The metro is deemed a cheap, reliable and fast public transportation for daily-basis use. A controversy erupted over an expected rise in the ticket price from 1 EGP ($0.13,) which was proposed amid official statements the sector is burdened with debts amounting to $2.6 billion, worsened by high rate of fare-jumpers.

The government has begun work at the third Line that aims to expand the subway network.

The third phase of the project is planned to connect Imbaba and Mohandiseen districts, and pass under the Nile River to Zamalek and continue to Attaba, Abassiya, Cairo Stadium, Heliopolis and the Cairo Airport.

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