A number of political groups condemned a possible increase in the price of the underground metro ticket, criticising the government and warning of angry reactions.
A campaign by the name “The Uprising of the Poor’s Metro” has called upon activists and metro users to stage peaceful demonstrations inside the stations, in the case that ticket prices increase, warning that an escalation might include “peaceful mobilisation in the streets”.
“When the raising of the prices reaches the metro ticket, the government is preventing the poor from the cheapest public transportation. We must refuse the new increase,” the campaign said.
The campaign added: “Why should the poor pay the price for the capitalist tendencies of the previous regimes?”
“It is not the responsibility of the Egyptian people that the metro company is suffering losses, as the government was handling the project,” the campaign said in a statement, blaming the company’s deficit on the “virus of privatisation, which hit the country and made the poor suffer.”
The political party Misr Al-Qawia launched another online campaign, dubbed “We Will Not Pay More Than One Pound”, calling upon users and party members to blog about the negative aspects of the metro.
Users cited various problems while riding the metro, such as “overcrowding, sexual harassments, the increase of vendors, lack of security, and inefficient ventilation systems inside the cars”.
The Anwar Sadat metro station has been closed by the authorities since the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in in August 2013, making Al-Shohada station the only transfer point between the first and second lines, which are the most popular lines, causing daily overcrowding during the morning rush hours.
The overcrowding was also reported to have caused an increase of sexual harassment incidents.
HarrasMap, an initiative that monitors harassment cases and documents violations allowing women to quickly report instances of harassment via text messages, reported that 81% of sexual harassment takes place in public transportation, including the metro.
The Building and Development Party, Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya’s political wing, also condemned the government’s intention to increase the metro ticket price, describing it as a “violation of social justice”.
The party rejected the process of “removing subsidies on goods and services”, accusing the government of “harming the impoverished classes”.
Since last December, government officials have been making conflicting reports on the price hike.
While the spokesperson of the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation Ahmed Abdel Hady denied that the authority received any proposals regarding changing the price of metro tickets, discussions in the Ministry of Transportation included the possible increase to cover the company’s deficit as of the beginning of 2015, state media reported.