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Bus and Taxi in Egypt

By Rail

The Egyptian State Railway is a government-owned system founded in 1851 which services the entire Nile Valley down to Aswan, the Red Sea cities of Suez and Port Said, the Delta and Northern Coast cities of Alexandria (two stops) and Mersa Matruh. There are at least half a dozen through trains a day on major routes. Fares are inexpensive, but unless one is traveling with a tour, tickets must be purchased at the main railway stations (in Cairo at the Ramses Station at Midan Ramses).

There is one privately-owned train operating in Egypt, the Wagon Lits sleeper with first, second and third class compartments. The train travels overnight from Cairo to Aswan and back again, leaving Cairo at around 7 pm and arriving in Aswan at 9 am, the following morning. Bookings are one week in advance through a travel agent or from Compagnie Internationale des Wagons Lits Egypte, 9 Sh Menes, Heliopolis, Tel: 290-8802/4; 48 Sh Giza, Giza, Tel: 348-7354, 349-2365.

By Bus

Air- conditioned buses link most parts of Egypt to Cairo and Alexandria. Seats may be reserved up to two days in advance. There is also a fleet of cheaper non-air-conditioned buses. Although bus times may change without notice, departures are so frequent that schedule changes are not a problem.

The principle carrier to Aswan and Luxor is the Upper Egyptian Bus Company, 4 Yussef Abbas, MN. Tel: 260-9304, 260-9297/8. Departures are from 45 al Azhar and the terminal at Midan Ahmed Helmi. Two buses a day complete the run to Aswan, departing early morning and arriving in the evening.

To Alexandria the main carriers are the West Delta Bus Company, Super Jet, and the Federal Arab Land Transport Company, which leave from behind the Hilton.

By Bus Around Cairo

The large red-and-white and blue-and-white buses are usually so overcrowded they assault one's sense of private space. But here are a few interesting routes for the adventurous tourist:

• Number 400 from the airport to downtown;
• Number 66 from the Nile Hilton in Midan Tahrir to the Khan al-Khalili;
• Number 72 from the Nile Hilton in Midan Tahrir to the Citadel;
• Number 800 and 900 from the Muhama'a in Midan Tahrir to the Pyramids.

More comfortable are the smaller orange-and-white buses which do not permit standing. Here are a few major routes (from Midan Tahrir):

• Number 24 to Ramses statue, Abbassiyah and Roxi;
• Number 27 to Ramses statue, Abbassiyah and the Airport;
• Number 82 to the Pyramids.

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