Egyptian President Reassures Investment In Electric Rail As A ‘Wise Move’
The new suburban rail network has not been good news for Cairo that had invested a huge amount of money in its transport infrastructure recently. There is therefore a schismatic debate coming to surface on government spendings. The trains are going empty to the surprise of the same government that has put money into the infrastructure.
This is more exasperating because economic times have been tough on the country over the Covid-19 restrictions and the subsequent slowdowns. The new electric trains were opened to public in July this year. The $1.24 billion, state-of-the-art rail network has, (it seems) had problems attracting passengers, chiefly because the suburban east Cairo communities it links with the rest of the city and the new capital farther out in the desert are sparsely populated.
The layout plan does not seem to be matching the basic commuting needs of the Egyptians. The government is however sure that the project will eventually kick off. However, recent rumors have it that the network will be suspended because it is running at a loss. Government decision for transport development has been criticized, questioning spending priorities, placing the transport project at the center of a politically sensitive debate on economic policy.
The spend seems to be unnecessary, keeping in mind, the economic state of affairs of Egypt. The $1.24 billion, state-of-the-art rail network that opened in July has had problems attracting passengers, chiefly because the suburban east Cairo communities it links with the rest of the city and the new capital farther out in the desert are sparsely populated.
The criticism has not been put under the carpet. Instead, the government has justified that scarcity of passengers could also be due to high fares on the network.
While being questioned, President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has reassured that the public money is in safe hands; and justified this by addressing the success of the Suez Canal, referring to the government’s sound judgement.
The government this month has finally moved to slash fares by up to 40 per cent to encourage more commuters to use the new network.