Page update - Sep 2, 2023
How much do taxi rides cost in Egypt? What types of cabs work there? What are the official fares for each type? How to communicate with cab drivers? How to order? How not to overpay? Read the answers on this page.
There was no taxi increase between January and August (inclusive) 2023. Fuel has increased in price (in Egypt, fuel prices are set by the government). Inflation in the country is already 36% officially (50% real). Naturally, taxi drivers have become drastically poorer in this situation.
Therefore! Do not be surprised that many taxi drivers now categorically refuse to drive on the meter, and demand a fixed fee, which is higher than it would be on the meter. Don't be surprised that the meter may be readjusted to a higher fare. This has happened before, but rarely, and now it has become very frequent.
Official rates went up last time in the summer of 2022. From 13 July 2022 in Cairo, boarding costs 7.5 EGP (previously 7). A kilometer of journey now costs 3.5 EGP (previously 3). For the current exchange rate of the Egyptian pound, see our article "What's the money in Egypt". In the Red Sea resorts, fares are higher - 10-15 for boarding , 5-8 per kilometer.
Uber and Careem raised their prices from July 25. At Uber, the boarding costs 9 EGP and the kilometer costs 3 EGP.
Expect fare increases in autumn/winter 2023.
In total, there are five types of cabs in Egypt: black-white, white, yellow (aka orange, aka white-blue), and scooter cab. And separately, Uber and Careem cabs are worth mentioning.
The government tries to work out a reasonable legal base for the cab industry, but this process goes with variable success. As a result of the hard brainwork of several generations of Egyptian ministers and parliamentarians, the work of cab drivers is now regulated by several different laws.
Remember that not all of these types are present in all cities. In Cairo and Alexandria, you can definitely find any of them. Every major city has white ones, but black-white or yellow ones may not be present at all. In the resort areas, yellow (aka orange, aka white-blue) are more common, and black-white may not be present. And that's probably for the best. Uber and Careem are almost everywhere now.
They are regulated by a new law. These cars must have air conditioning and a meter. But in fact, the drivers do not often turn on the air conditioning (saving money), and the meter does not always work. As these cars look like, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.
The fare consists of two parts - the price of boarding and the price per kilometer. Boarding in Cairo or Alexandria costs 7.5 Egyptian pounds, and it is more expensive in resort areas - from 10 to 15 pounds (depending on the resort), and this price includes the first few kilometers. Then you pay 3.5 pounds for each kilometer in Cairo or Alexandria, in the resorts from 4 to 5 pounds.
The main advantage of traveling in a white cab is that you do not need to haggle because there is the meter. But there is a disadvantage - many drivers are trying to purposely take a longer route to get more money.
Remember the main rule of white cabs. Make sure the cab driver has turned on the meter. There have been cases where the driver did not turn on the meter, and then demanded a fixed amount of money, and twice as much as the trip would have cost according to the meter.
These cabs are usually owned by taxi fleets, and their creation is a private initiative of taxi companies in Egypt. The name "yellow" is nominal as they come in orange, blue, white-blue, orange-black. You will always recognize them by their well-groomed appearance.
These cabs have air conditioning and a meter, and the driver always speaks one foreign language. Most often it is English. To be honest, the drivers' knowledge of English is at a primitive level, but it's enough.
In Cairo, these cabs are yellow. In Cairo, yellow cabs are almost impossible to catch on the street, they work by pre-booking by phone. To call, go to your hotel reception, they know the phones. The fare is 10 pounds for boarding and from 3.5 pounds per kilometer.
Cab drivers in Hurghada and Sharm do not often want to ride by the meter and try to negotiate a fixed fee. Naturally, this fee is 1.5 or more times the cost of a metered ride.
If you meet such a driver, just refuse and take the next one. There is no shortage of cabs in the busy resort areas of Sharm and Hurghada now.
And by the way, it is recommended to exchange at least a small amount for Egyptian pounds. When paying in US dollars, cab drivers almost always don't have change. It's hard to stock up enough small denominations of US dollars or Euros. It's easier to pay with Egyptian pounds. Read our detailed review "How to exchange money in Egypt".
The taximeter is located on the dashboard in the center - between the driver and the passenger. How does the Egyptian taximeter look like, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge to full screen.
To clearly explain to the driver your intention to ride by the meter, you need to point your finger at the meter and say the word "meter". All cab drivers understand this word.
When the cab driver turns on the meter, it should display the boarding price. For Cairo, it is 7.5 pounds, and it is more expensive in the resort areas. Make sure the cab driver zeroed the meter, otherwise you will pay more for the trip of the previous passenger.
You can see the traveled distance to the left of the picture of the horse and the total cost of the trip in the upper right corner.
Now most tourists choose Uber or Careem. The reasons are obvious:
First of all you can call a cab through the app. There is no need to catch a car on the street or call by phone.
Secondly, the trip price is displayed immediately in the app. No need to haggle. The driver won't take a long route to inflate the meter.
Thirdly, the cars are serviceable and clean, and the drivers are neat. This is in most cases.
Fourthly, you can pay by credit card, and it is quite safe. However, we still recommend you to pay in cash - it is safer.
UberX fares are slightly higher than the white cabs, but lower than the yellow ones. Boarding is 9 Egyptian pounds, a kilometer - 3 pounds, waiting - 40 piastres per minute, the minimum cost of the trip or the cancellation of the trip - 12 pounds.
Uber Comfort fares. Boarding is 12.4 Egyptian pounds, a kilometer is 4.52 pounds.
Uber fares vary slightly from city to city, but the difference is small - ±15%.
Warning! There are different Uber applications. There is the international Uber app, but there are local Uber apps in some countries. These local app will NOT work in Egypt. You will see the error "Rides in this area are not available". You need to install the international Uber app, and then it will work fine. Choose the payment method - cash.
Uber now (September 2023) works in Hurghada, but does NOT work in Sharm El Sheikh. They promise it will work in Sharm soon. We hope at the time of your visit to Sharm it will work.
Our advice: use Uber and Careem. All you need to do is download the app and have a working mobile internet connection. Read our review "Cheap Internet in Egypt".
The simplest kind of cab and the cheapest. No longer found in the resort areas. And it is already a rarity in cities in the Nile Valley.
There is usually no air conditioning in these cars, although some drivers install it at their own expense. In fact, black-white cabs are legalized private persons-drivers. The legalization procedure in Egypt is very simple - they just need to paint the car in the appropriate colors, hang a yellow (or white) light with the inscription "taxi" on top, and pass a slight technical inspection.
Also, these cars do not have meters, and you have to negotiate with the driver about the price. Cab drivers in Egypt usually do not tell you the price. They hope that you're not familiar with the prices and you'll give them a very good figure.
It is very desirable to know the approximate price of the trip in order to communicate with such cab drivers.
Let's try to give examples of a few popular routes. A trip from Cairo to Giza costs 40-45 Egyptian pounds. A trip from Cairo International Airport to the city center costs 60-65 pounds according to the meter, but in practice you have to pay twice as much. A trip within the city costs 10-15 pounds. Travelling a short distance costs 8-10 pounds, for example, from the hotel to the market nearby or to the supermarket.
6 Egyptian pounds is the minimum price for which Egyptian cab drivers let passengers in the cabin at all. Discussing prices with Egyptian cab drivers is easy because they know the numbers in English.
Some tourists hire a cab for the day, the cost of such a service - from 400 to 800 Egyptian pounds (need to haggle).
Remember the main rule when riding a black-white cab. You have to negotiate the price first, and only after that get in the car. Bargaining during the ride is not very convenient, and the driver will have an advantage in negotiations.
There are scooter cabs in Egypt. And there is even an "Uber Scooter". This is the cheapest option. As it looks, see the photo near, click on the photo to enlarge.
This type of cab is almost never seen in the resorts. In Cairo and Giza it is common. In the countryside in the Nile Valley it is the main type of cab. In Southern (Upper) Egypt also scooter cabs are very common.
The fare is 2-3 pounds per ride and about 1.5 pounds per kilometer.
Naturally, scooter cabs are the most dangerous. Obviously, the passengers and driver in the scooter are the first candidates for serious injury and death in any accident. And accidents happen very often in Egypt.
Therefore, we strongly advise against using scooter cabs.
The biggest shock for tourists is the driving style of Egyptian cab drivers and their chronic non-compliance with the traffic rules. In fact, no one in Egypt observes the traffic rules. And how to obey them? There are no traffic lights, except for Tahrir Square in Cairo. There are almost no road markings in Nile Valley cities. Only the resorts in the main streets have markings and even crosswalks.
See the photo nearby. It was taken in Tahrir, the central square of the country. Click on the photo to enlarge it. Note that there are no markings on the road at all. People are crossing the road in random places because there are no crosswalks either.
And this picture is from Naama Bay in Sharm El Sheikh. As you can see, there is a road marking, a crosswalk, and even a speed bump.
This situation is observed in many Arab countries. Of course, in the Arab Emirates, Qatar, or Bahrain, all drivers respect the rules, as it's the most "civilized" part of the Arab world. But in Egypt, Tunisia, or Syria, the situation is very complicated.
The problem of safety is brightly illustrated by the figures. In Egypt, 75 people per 100,000 cars a year die in accidents. In the UK there are only 5.7, in the US there are only 14.2. Cabs in Egypt can be characterized by the phrase "Very cheap, but scary".
There are regular cab drivers at airports. The airports of Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh have recently been put in order, and now all drivers are required to have meters in their cars. However, they do not like to drive by the meter and try to negotiate an inflated price.
If you're flying to Cairo or Hurghada, we advise you to call an Uber by the app.
If you're flying to Sharm El Sheikh, the fare to your hotel is 10 pounds per landing + 5 per kilometer or you can bargain. Most cab drivers do not want to use the meter and try to negotiate for a high fee.
If you are going to a distant resort, for example, Taba, Dahab, Nuweiba, Marsa Alam, or El Kusair, not every driver will agree to go there. After all, he will have to go back empty. In this case, hiring a cab can be a problem.
We recommend that you consider ordering a transfer in advance. There will not be a serious difference in price. For example, a cab from Sharm El Sheikh to Dahab costs about 500 Egyptian pounds, and an organized transfer costs USD 30. No big difference.
Naturally, an organized transfer is more convenient. The driver will be waiting for you at the exit of the airport arrivals hall, he will help you carry your belongings.
For a detailed map with resorts and airports, see our Map of Egypt.
Egypt, although a secular country, but still Islamic. The rules of ethical behavior of Islam apply to cabs as well. If a woman rides alone, she must sit in the back seat. If a man rides alone, he must sit in the front seat next to the driver. We ask that you observe the customs of other countries in order to avoid conflicts.
As in many Islamic countries, there are "pink" cabs in Egypt. The driver is always a woman. Only women and children under the age of 12 can ride in.
- In Egypt, there are no increased fares at night, on weekends or holidays. Fares are always the same. Remember, however, that it can be difficult to find a car during the holidays. See our review "Public holidays in Egypt" for the calendar;
- And the hardest part is trying to find a car during Ramadan at sunset. Why? Read in our page "Ramadan in Egypt";
- Egyptian cab drivers are happy to take US dollars, UK pounds, and Euros, but they round up the rate to their side. And they don't usually have change in US dollars or Euros (at least they say so). You'd better pay in Egyptian pounds;
- To avoid problems (not only in taxis), read our useful page "What you should not do in Egypt";
- For other expenses on the trip read the review "How much money to take for Egypt".
Enjoy your cab rides in Egypt, and read our pages about the country (see the list of the pages below).
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