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Egypt by taxi


Egypt by taxi

In the cities, taxis are a cheap and convenient way of getting around. Although generally safe, taxis drive as erratically as all the other drivers, especially in Cairo, and you should note that sometimes fake taxis travel around. Make sure they have official markings on the dashboard or elsewhere; the taxis are always painted in special colors to identify them. In Cairo the taxis are painted black with white around the front and rear fenders, in Luxor they are blue and white, and in Alexandria yellow and black. In Cairo and Luxor it is often much more interesting to use the taxis and a good guidebook instead of traveling around in a tour bus. Some of the taxis have meters, but most were calibrated using a law from the 1970s before the oil crisis and are never used. Seemingly, Cairo is alone in Egypt with having a sizable population of modern metered cabs. Since Jan 2009, in Sharm El Sheikh all airport taxis have meters fitted and they must be used. Generally the best way is to ask at your hotel or someone you know from Egypt for the prices from point-to-point. You could also ask a pedestrian or policemen for the correct price. The best way to hire a taxi is to stand on the side of the road and put out a hand. You will have no trouble attracting a taxi, especially if you are obviously a Westerner. Negotiate a price and destination before getting into the car. At the end of the journey, step out of the car and make sure you have everything with you before giving the driver the payment. If the driver shouts, it's probably OK, but if he steps out of the car you almost certainly paid too little. Prices can be highly variable but examples are 20 LE from central Cairo to Giza, 10 LE for a trip inside central Cairo and 5 LE for a short hop inside the city. Note that locals pay a fraction of these prices but rarely less than 5 LE; the local price in a taxi from Giza or Central Cairo to the airport is around 25-30 LE. Do not be tempted to give them more because of the economic situation; otherwise, ripping off foreigners will become more common and doing so generally tends to add to inflation. Note that the prices listed here are already slightly inflated to the level expected from tourists, not what Egyptians would normally pay. You can also hire taxis for whole days, for between 100-200 LE if going on longer excursions such as to Saqqara and Dashur from Cairo. Inside the town they are also more than happy to wait for you (often for a small extra charge, but ask the driver), even if you will be wandering around for a few hours. Taxi drivers often speak enough English to negotiate price and destination, but only rarely more. Some speak more or less fluently and they will double as guides, announcing important places when you drive by them, but they can be hard to find. The drivers often expect to be paid a little extra for that; however, do not feel the need to pay for services that you have not asked for. If you find a good English-speaking driver, you may want to ask him for a card or a phone number, because they can often be available at any time and you will have a more reliable travel experience. Very recently, a new line of taxis owned by private companies has been introduced in Cairo as a pilot project. They are all clean and air-conditioned. The drivers are formally dressed and can converse in at least one foreign language, usually English. These cabs stand out because of their bright yellow colors. They can be hailed on the street if they are free or hired from one of their stops (including one in Tahrir square in the center of downtown). These new cabs use current meters which count by the kilometer, which starts from 2.50 pounds. In general, they are marginally more expensive than the normal taxis; you can call 16516 in Cairo to hire a cab if you can't find them where you are looking.

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Egypt Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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