30 March 2017

Greater Cairo fare policy in turmoil – Meeting with Eng. Sayed Metwalli, CEO of GCTRA

Meeting with
Eng. Sayed Metwalli

CEO of the Greater Cairo Transport Regulatory Authority

Can you please introduce yourself and GCTRA?

My name is Sayed Mohamed Mohamed Metwalli and I have been working ingctra the General Authority For Roads, Bridges and Land Transport for 27 years. During these years I have been working on a large variety of projects as road and bridges engineer and this helped me in acquiring a wide experience in various fields such as infrastructures engineering, landscape planning and road safety.

Today I am Ceo in GCTRA, the Greater Cairo Transport Regulatory Authority, an entity that was set up by the presidential decree No. 349 of 2012 to compensate the need for an authority to regulate urban transport in the Greater Cairo Region (Cairo, Giza and Qalyubeya).

GCTRA works under the umbrella of the Ministry of Transport and aims to organize, plan, monitor, and evaluate the performance of all activities related to transportation sector in Greater Cairo in line with current laws and in coordination with ministries, governorates and concerned bodies.

Actually, GCTRA is still facing difficulties in being operational but this authority will improve the efficiency of the urban public transport and raise the level of performance of services in order to meet the growing demand taking into account the service, environmental protection and all security and safety factors.

Personally, I believe in a synergetic relation between road safety and transport planning especially concerning freight transport that we are working to let it be delivered through the national railways or the Nile River in order to decrease the exposure to road accidents.

Which modes of transport do you have in GCR?

The Greater Cairo Region has a metro service which is the best mode of transport for big metropolis but its construction costs are really high and this is letting slow its development. The Metro needs to be better integrated to road-based transport services in order to increase ridership and mode share. This includes re-thinking fare policy with respect to integration with other public transport modes. Institutional reform and investment in these modes, therefore, is equally as important as investing in its expansion considering the costs and the actual economic crisis that Egypt is undergoing.

Heliopolis Tram is a metre-gauge light rail line but it really old-fashioned and would need a hard process of maintenance and development.

Bus service is subject to a lack of funding resulting in aging bus fleets, overcrowding, and declining service frequencies. This poor quality of service is no match for advantages of the informal transportation sector, such as personalized stops and flexible service.

Informal transport services, provided by individuals, are not planned and sometimes not regulated. They represent almost 83 per cent of all motorized trips per year.

Coordination among the different public transport modes and between public transport and private cars is minimal. Poor scheduling, uncoordinated route structures, and independent fare structures do not facilitate interchange among Metro, regional rail, bus, and microbus.

May you please explain the fare policy in GCR?

Before the creation of GCTRA, the minister of transportation and the CEOs of respective authorities fixed fares. The Egyptian Company for Metro’s Operation and Maintenance (ECM) proposes the metro fare to the Minister of Transport for approbation. Heliopolis tram and GCR busses are under the jurisdiction of the Cairo governorate and they operated and regulated by the Cairo Transport Authority (CTA) who fixes their fares. A Service Office, in the Cairo governorate, is responsible for the regulation of taxis and microbuses. All modes of transport are subsidised by the government.

Actually, the metro ticket has not been increased for so many years and today it is being discussed in Parliament because of its socio-political impact.

Ticket Price in EGP
Metro 1*
Heliopolis Tramway 0,5
Bus 2-3
Microbus depending on the route

*2 EGP since 23/03/2017

GCTRA should become responsible of the fare policies of all modes of transport as soon as its departments will be effective. I think that we need a preliminary fare policy study in order to understand the amount of ticket prices before subsidies then define the price depending on the users’ needs and the subsidy percentage needed from the state. We have to review GCR fare policy! The new ticket price will be linked to the ridership/year of each mode of transport and this will need ICT systems for ticketing. The government will be in charge of part of the fares and the users of the other part.

How could GCTRA help in the fare integration process?

GCTRA will have a Ticketing and Tariff Management Central Department that will have to oversee the tariff and ticketing systems development and implementation and coordinate with key internal and external stakeholders. This department will be divided into:

  • Tariff System Management General Department that will provide plans, set up the tariff system according to international standards and take into consideration inputs of key stakeholders in addition to the strategy of GCTRA; it will be responsible of the:
  • Tariff System Setup Department that will oversee the setup of the tariff system according to international standards and in collaboration with key stakeholders.
  • Tariff System Dissemination and Monitoring that will manage tariff implementation and provide advice and problem solving to ensure alignment of all parties.
  • Ticketing Management General Department that will plan distribution of revenues and monitors implementation thereof and will be responsible of:
  • Ticketing Revenue Monitoring and Distribution Department that will allocate and calculate accurate revenue in a timely manner.

Future plans on fare policies?

GCTRA aims to create a reliable high-quality public transport network in order to convince car owners to leave their private cars and to ease traffic on GCR roads. These services will target an Egyptian social class than can afford paying the whole ticket amount without the government subsidy. This kind of social fare should help improving public transport avoiding further governmental subsidies.

GCTRA is also planning to develop a BRT system in GCR that will might be the occasion to integrate all modes through ICT ticketing systems that will be uniformed in order to guarantee a successful fare integration.

This interview was held 13/02/2017