I am not going to beat around the bush in this blog post. Egypt’s Ministry of Transportation deserves to go to hell. And Egypt’s Ministry of Interior deserves to go to hell for too many reasons, but one of them is the appalling performance of its traffic police.
I am absolutely sick and tired of feeling I want to be shot in the head with a gun every single time I drive in Cairo’s streets. The problem is that so many of our traffic issues can be solved if there were people with heads on their shoulders who were actually working.
Let me give you a few examples from my daily drive out of and into my neighborhood of Al-Haram.
Pyramids (Haram) Road is a road that has absolutely NO stop lights from beginning to end. This should mean that traffic moving along this road has no logical reason to stop. But traffic on Haram Road ALWAYS stops, sometimes for long lengths of the road, at very well-known bottlenecks. Two of those bottlenecks are at Talbiya and Arish St. They are caused by large numbers of people either standing in the middle of the road because they want to catch a microbus or because they want to cross the street. Why does it take a fucking genius like me to suggest that we build an overpass or an underpass in areas like these that allows people to cross to the other side of the road without hindering traffic?? There are several other areas that are always bottlenecked because microbuses stop in the middle of the road to load and unload people. My Mad Nadia suggestion would be to burn all microbuses and then send their scraps to hell. Calmer Nadia would suggest that we create proper microbus stops OFF Haram Road on some of the side streets. People shouldn’t be allowed to just jump onto a microbus anywhere they please. There should be stops within walking distance of their homes that they can take themselves to. And these stops should not be on the main road. Of course, having better public transportation in Cairo would solve a load of problems. We don’t have enough buses on our streets, there’s absolutely no way to know which bus number goes to what part of Cairo, and we need better bus stops. Of course, having the metro system reach more areas in Cairo will solve many problems. WE NEED THE METRO SYSTEM TO REACH ALL THE WAY DOWN PYRAMIDS ROAD, FOR GOD’S SAKE!
Another thing that really upsets me is when the bottleneck is caused by a FUCKING POT HOLE! When there is a large volume of traffic on the road, cars need to slow down to bypass the FUCKING POT HOLE. This creates a bottleneck. FILL IN THE FUCKING POT HOLE YOU IDIOTS!!
Parking. There’s no where to park in Cairo! We’ve been saying for years that we need to force builders to include a parking space in their plans for any building that is under construction. It’s never happened. The result is that we all need to park our cars in parallel for two and sometimes three lines deep. There’s no other alternative! And again, we create more bottlenecks! Sometimes we end up paying a complete stranger, usually the doorman of the building we’re parking at, to go round and round in circles with our car until he finds a place for us or we finish our errand. We need more parking areas and buildings in this city. What is so difficult about getting around to doing that?
Trucks. The bane of Cairo’s Ring Road is the fucking trucks. The truck drivers drive like maniacs and they hog up all of the lanes. Why don’t we have in Egypt the rule that most other countries in the world have that trucks and buses can only occupy the right lane??
And why is the ONLY pre-occupation of Cairo’s traffic police locking the wheels of cars double and triple parked? Why aren’t they doing ANYTHING else to solve Cairo’s traffic problems?
Go to hell the lot of you! I am sick of coming to work every morning in this rotten mood!
P.S.: I’ll have to write a separate blog post soon telling our Ministry of Tourism to go fuck itself as well.
The funny part is ,we all know that !!!
Great rant. Good luck on your suggestions. 🙂
One of the best I’ve read of your posts so far.
Can visualize everything you are saying. We visit Egypt yearly from the States, and I make my poor husband drive us everywhere because the taxi drivers drive like maniacs, and I simply can’t take it. You can include in the traffic mayhem the drivers who back down exit ramps because they took the wrong exit and hit you and then tell you ‘malesh’ (never mind); the people who carry mattresses on their heads while balancing on a motorcycle and nearly hit you as they weave in and out of traffic; the new wave of fake tour guides on the Pyramids Road (who are really thugs), who come straight through the heavy traffic at your car and bang on it and even reach in the windows trying to convince you that they have something you want (that last part was particularly scary last year). If we could walk places, I’d opt for that. But the sidewalks of Cairo are, well, full of potholes, broken sides, overcrowded, and one has to cross side streets in using them. I should mention that even a foreigner wearing a scarf is harassed by men. I could put on an abaya, and it wouldn’t make a difference! It’s simply not safe for me to walk there alone. So, Nadia, what is your profession? Want to see if we have something similar here in the horse capital of the world (Lexington), where your view on your way to work most likely will be thoroughbreds grazing on horse farms. Nice Egyptian community here! 🙂
The view sounds wonderful, Jenny! I’m a journalist. No plans to leave Egypt, though, even though I complain about it incessantly 🙂
Only yesterday, stuck in ring road hell coming from Katameya to Maadi, Felicity asked me “how would you solve Cairo’s traffic problems?”. And now I think I have the answer. Take all the people stuck in their cars in jams who are coming up with creative solutions about how to get the traffic moving. Get rid of the dolts at the MoT and replace them with the motorists. Give the motorists money and political capital and freedom, and let them fix the problems. I guarantee we would have forward progress.
The ma’toorah is another problem. Also today on me7war there was a truck driving like crazy between the lanes. I think traffic is left unattended to to let people suffer and also no capacities capable to manage.
Seriously great rant. And great suggestions if there was someone actually looking for solutions