I love taking taxis. It's so crazy! The way they drive in Cairo could give the faint at heart fits. But I was determined to figure out this insanity by watching the traffic and the taxi driver's. The driver's don't seem to ever get their feathers ruffled. The cacophony of music from the horn's being blown, the weaving in and out of traffic, turning 2 lanes into 3, 3 into 4. It just amazed me.
One of the highlights of our stay in Cairo was a couple of taxi rides. Drivers in Cairo are completely mad - and taxi drivers are no exception.
During a half-hour drive we had several near misses....with other cars, buses and pedestrians.....but it was so exhilarating!
For some reason I felt completely at ease - I (stupidly perhaps) had complete confidence that our driver would get us to our destination in one piece!
So if you you get the chance, jump into a taxi.....and hold on tight!!
The best way to get around an Egyptian town or city is by taxi but there are several problems. First, you must bargain for everything in Egypt taxi service included, so you have to be prepared and patient in negotiating a price. Second, there are no traffic rules the Egyptians obey while driving, they drive everything that can run on 4 wheels, cars with no lights, no breaks ... Their cars are nothing like the one in the photo. However, one thing must be ok and that is the sirene. They use sirens every now and then in order to communicate with others.
The Cairo Taxi should be your main means of trensportation when in Cairo. It is cheap so dont panic and think you will spend all your money on taxis.
If you are living in a 5 stars hotel and can afford a hotel taxi (normally more expensive) then go ahead it has the same black and white colors and in most cases there is an A/C in such cars. If you dont want to spend much money on this then i suggest you walk some 10-20 meters away from the hotel and catcha taxi that is wandering in the cairo streets. There are no such calling a taxi on the phone to pass by you.
The Taxi brands and models are not like in the west so dont expect the street taxi to be a mercedes model 1980 , but rather 1966.
The prices will differ due to the distances you will take. If from downtown to the Giza plateaux far from the hotel then you will pay 20-30 egyptian pounds which is less than 5 Dollars.
Who didn't hear about Cairo's famous black and white taxis?
We had the opportunity to experiment it two or three times and it was a great experience.
Particularly the one in the picture was the most "trendy" one and during our entire ride we were accompanied by Muslim prayers on the radio.
Luckily or not we were together with out Egyptian friend so we missed the part with the negotiation of the price.
There are plenty of taxis everywhere but agree about the fare before entering. It is a good idea to do the excursions to the pyramides or Sakkara with a taxi, your hotel receptionist should know the actual (low!) rates for this and if you are lucky the driver is even a reliable guide to the one or other attraction on the way. The traffic in Cairo is something one has to get used to - but in some way it works.
I have read the previous comments. Im an egyptian and i would like to help the tourists coming out here to find a better way instead of all the taxi hassle. I know how a taxi ride can ruin you experience. Anyhow, when you are in cairo, your best deal today is to call the city taxi. They are yellow cabs that come upon you request. They are not as cheap as the ordinary black and white ones. But they are still cheap. Their hotline number is 19155. I hope this helps you enjoy cairo more than usual and spare you all the annoyances of taxi drivers.
The easiest way to reach every part of the city is by renting a taxi for a day, or simply jump in a taxi when you do need it.
Remember to bargain for the rate, never accept the first price!!!
Taxi are common and safe, so you will never have a problem to run in the city, although I would suggest you to take the metro (if you are going in a direction covered by the metro…)
"My friend of the day" was Saakib, the taxi driver. We caught him on the Nile bank close o the museum. If you want great adventure, take the cab. All he time of the ride, he was only beeping and try to explain us how other drivers don't know to drive. We think that he is one of them.
For the ride from Museum to our hotel, which is close to the Pyramids, he took 25 Egyptian Pounds (7 E.P. = 1 Euro). And don't know the mileage but he was driving us about 45 minutes.
Although all the little black-and-white taxis have meters, i didn't encounter a single one with a meter that worked. I did travel in one with a modern electronic meter, but that didn't work either. So the price is negotiable. In practise most journeys about downtown Cairo should be five or at most ten LE, the pyramids or the airport 40 or so.
If you're a Cairene, you know what a fair price is and simply hand it over when you get out. This takes a bit of confidence (and a good supply of small denomination notes) so if in doubt agree beforehand. If the driver won't accept what you want to pay try another. If the first driver is being exorbitant, he'll lose the fare!
If in doubt, any hotel will be able to help you with an idea of what a fair price for a particular journey is.
We took taxi's to most places we wanted to go in Cairo... One word of warning...don't get a taxi out the front of a hotel...always walk down the street a bit first...they'll charge you extra or try to do something dodgy if you get a taxi in front of your hotel.
It is really cheap to take taxis in Cairo...almost too cheap... We paid around 20 LE (about A$5) for a half hour drive for 4 - 5 people most times.
I learnt to avoid taxis that wait for you out of hotels restaurants or tourist sites, they never use the meter and charge you also 3 or 4 times the normal rate.
Ask someone to write for you the place where you want to go in Arabic and then stop the taxi on the street, I was surprised to see as most of them turned on the meter without any pressure from me as it was just normal, this is really a werid habit for taxi drivers anywhere in the world.
From the airport to the hotel I got to pay 90 egyptian pounds and a local friend said it was a good price.
Taxies in Cairo are one of the cheapest ways to get around,and it can be picked up at all major locations.
Few have meters, but there`s a trick,if you can blend in as an Egyptian DO NOT bargain with the taxi driver about the fare,just give him what you think is acceptable,after leaving the car and walk away.
It is 1 USD$ for a 15 minutes drive or 4 USD for a half an hour drive,if your going from or to the airport 7 Dollars is more than enough,
you could still be generous by giving more!
Note that Cairo traffic can be extremely problematic. What should be a 10-min car journey sometimes takes an hour.
Taking a taxi ride in Cairo is in itself an exercise in haggling. It's probably the first form of haggling you'll get into upon arrival in Cairo. I must admit it could be frustrating and exhausting for first timers - and it took me considerable amount of time and patience to adjust to the practice, despite my having lived in Manila (the Philippines) for more than a decade and criss-crossed Bombay (India) several times. But Cairene taxi drivers are in a class of their own - more shrewd and more engaging, to say the least.
To conserve energy for better things, I've developed a simple formula for haggling (or to avoid one). Using Midan Tahrir/Nile Hilton as a reference point, I pay in multiples of EGP 5 (which is more generous, I know, but come to think of it, this is not even one US dollar!) everytime I cross the bridge on the Nile. So from Midan Tahrir to Zamalek, which takes on bridge crossing, I pay EGP 5, and continuing to Mohandissen (total of two bridge crossings), I pay 10.
I think it works since only a few drivers argued with me when I started using the formula - or was I paying too much? Please let me know. Also, it helps if you know Arabic numbers and use these to haggle with taxi drivers. They become friendlier and easier to deal with once they hear you speaking a sprinkling of Arabic.
Taxis are clearly marked - in Cairo they are black & white, in Sharm white & blue, or, as in many other areas they have a taxi sign with a number on their doors. The latter type are usually the old Peugeot 404/504s.
By law, taxis must have at least 4 doors, a meter which must be running when carrying passangers & seat belts that must be worn in front.. If not the driver may be fined though no-one respects the metre.
Air-conditioning is never used.
Taxis are much cheaper than in Europe - even if one is grossly overcharged.
The condition of the taxis and the driving knowledge/skills of the drivers are probably much lower than in Europe.
Most people resident in Cairo share taxis and it is this that makes the taxis appear so cheap. For example, one person gets in and wants to go from A to B, along the way another person gets in and goes from C ( which happens to be between A and B ) to D, a third person will go from E ( which happens to be between D and B ) to F and so on. Each passanger getting off pays a fare - calculated per person. So a single person will travel cheaper than a couple. People dont bother to ask the fare in advance - they just seem to know...
Taxis waiting outside hotels are no different than other taxis except that they usually charge more. In fairness, they may be waiting quite some time outside the hotel, and in some cases in the Red Sea area, have to pay a fee per day to the hotel to collect or bring guests to and from the hotel ! The tourist police officer at the hotel often record their number, destination and time.
Tourists are usually charged more than locals, partly because the taxi will not pick up other persons on the way and will, hopefully, take the most direct route. In this case its best to fix the fee in advance, and check out the price for a return fare to include waiting time. The fee shall include any tips.
Even if overcharging occurs, taxi drivers are by no means wealthy and so if you wish to give them tips above the agreed amount... its a free country !