Head of the Egyptian General Authority for Roads and Bridges (GARB), Hossam Eldin Mostafa, announced on Sunday, 6 June, that by the end of this year, microbuses would no longer be permitted to drive on the Cairo Ring Road.
Mostafa explained in his appearance on the television talk show Hadret Al-Mowaten (The Esteemed Citizen) that the service provided by microbuses would be replaced by new buses loading passengers at strategic junctions. He also added that container trucks would only be permitted to drive on the highway between midnight and six o’clock in the morning.
The Ring Road, which is currently undergoing expansion scheduled to be completed in December, is one of the main arteries of metropolitan Cairo, linking key locations and facilitating movement throughout the sprawling city.
Providing an indispensable route for people and goods alike, it combines the presence of personal cars and taxis, buses, microbuses, as well as trucks and containers of varying sizes. This has, however, made the highway into a source of many traffic accidents, some of which have been fatal.
Unlike public buses, microbuses operate on a 24-hour basis, making them an essential mode of transport for many working class Egyptians whose hours are either late or unpredictable. But the driving style of these vehicles is known to often be unruly, sometimes causing traffic disturbances on the highway.
GARM estimates the number of cars driving on the Ring Road to reach up to around 200,000 a day. The expansion projects aim to widen the more congested parts of the road from four lanes to seven or eight, and Mostafa stated on the talk show that the microbus ban would take effect once the expansion is complete.
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