Text and video by Colette Ghunim
Out of all the time-crushing options to get around Cairo – taxis, cars, buses, and the semi-faster microbuses – another mode of transportation is gaining popularity among both Egyptians and foreigners alike. Nile Taxi, a company founded in 2010, utilizes boats in the Nile River to transport people both quickly and safely. According to The World Bank Group, over $US 8 billion are wasted every year on traffic congestion, which is four percent of Egypt’s total GDP.
There are three types of services available: the scheduled service, on-call and weekend boats. The scheduled service boats offer specific times to board at various locations. They work like microbuses, so passengers must wait for them to fill up at the loading dock before moving. On-call allows passengers to make a reservation for the time they need. Weekend boats travel to specific touristic places, such as Virgin Mary’s Church, which is the oldest church on the Nile.
Depending on the arrival and departure destinations, the trips cost between 15-35 EGP. A trip from Dokki to Zamalek costs 15 pounds, while a trip from Maadi to Zamalek costs 35 EGP and takes 22 minutes. The prices are comparable to taking a taxi.
However, they are more expensive than the public Nile boats that cost 2 EGP. The public boats travel through downtown, Cairo University, Zamalek and Imbaba. Street public transportation (microbuses, buses, tuktuks, etc.), another cheaper option, ranges between 1 EGP to 3 EGP. Though the cost is higher, Nile Taxi provides a relaxing escape from the black exhaust fumes and endlessly stressful honking.
Currently, Nile Taxi doesn’t have official docks at each location. Their main goal is to create designated ports complete with shops to buy morning coffee and newspapers. They aim to have Wi-Fi on board as well. Currently, each boat carries 15 passengers, but they are also designing boats that can carry 35 to 40 passengers. The services run from Maadi to Shobra and they plan to extend trips to service Helwan as well.
The demand for stress-free, fast transportation has proven Nile Taxi to be an effective and rapid choice for even ambassadors and celebrities. To reserve a spot on the Nile Taxi, customers can call the reservation hotline. Currently, it is not possible to reserve online but they plan to launch their new online reservation application this month. The Nile Taxi Facebook page, as well as their website, are consistently updated with news and specials.