The Egyptian passenger railways play a key role in the country’s economic growth. Not only do they contribute to the country’s revenues, but also help connect people to their destinations. Therefore, the Egyptian government is keen to develop passenger railways in order to provide citizens with an efficient railway system.
Egyptian Railways: An Active Economic Player
Egyptian railways are contributing to Egyptian economic growth. In February, Egypt's railways recorded EGP 325.6 million in revenues, while the number of passengers traveling/moving via railways reached 34.7 million people, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics’ (CAPMAS) March monthly bulletin.
The Egyptian National Railways (ENR) helps deliver passengers to their destinations in a short time. The Egyptian Metro, which is a part of the Egyptian railways, is seen as an efficient mean of transportation that saves time and money while preserving the environment.
The financial savings resulted from eliminating the negative impacts of carbon emissions, due to the abundance of fuel for the use of Metro’s networks instead of private vehicles, were calculated to have added value to the economy at EGP 337.31 million in 2014 and at EGP 5.6 billion cumulatively from 2014 to 2021, Azza Ali Farag, Assistant Professor of Economics at the Higher Institute of Administrative Sciences and Foreign Trade, explained in the research paper entitled ‘The Economic Value of Establishing Metro Networks in Greater Cairo’.
Ahmed Said Elbokl, Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Politics and Economics, Suez University, tells Arab Finance: “Improving the service for millions of passengers per day is a priority, especially when citizens depend on the national railways to commute to work, run errands, and do other tasks. Enhancing freight transport is also a critical objective, which will increase the economy’s overall competitiveness.”
Egypt is working on developing its passenger railways to ensure a more sustainable network that serves people in a time-efficient manner. The directives of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi are to expand the implementation of the environmentally friendly green, sustainable mass transit network. Therefore, the country is developing the high-speed electric train that will connect governorates. The first line of the high-speed electric train network ‘Ain Sokhna - New Alamein - Marsa Matruh’ is set to be established in the distance from the Badrashin area west of the Nile until the intersection of the train track with Wadi El Natrun Road / El Alamein, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
The high-speed electric train network project will contribute to creating thousands of job opportunities for young people, reduce traffic congestion, achieve higher levels of safety for passengers and a better impact on the environment, and help in economic development, Minister of Transport Kamel El Wazer confirmed in press statements during his tour to the project sites on April 29th.
Believing that transportation is one of the most important pillars on which the social and economic development of countries is based, the National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) is working on developing the existing metro lines, completing the third line, and constructing the fourth line of metro to easily connect people and help them save money and time.
Yet, the government needs to consider subway prices to ensure the sustainability of services. “Transport authorities should look for new mechanisms to diversify and increase revenues, such as offering car fueling stations and advertisements on new roads instead of increasing ticket prices, in order to maintain the level of service provided and reduce the burden on citizens, as well as to maintain the sustainability of growth in that vital sector,” Elbokl adds.
So far, with the development plans in place, passenger railways are promising to support the Egyptian economy and citizens. As these plans come in line with Egypt’s sustainability goals, the railways are expected to ensure time efficiency and the well-being of people and the environment.
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