Investments in the public transportation system and the system’s improvement topped the agenda of the second session of the Egypt Automotive Summit on Tuesday.
During the session, Sayed Abdel-Fattah, an official with the Public Transport Authority (PTA), said that the authority has been working to develop its fleet of buses, replacing vehicles that have over 20 years of service with newer ones. He highlighted several contracts with MCV, GB Auto, among others to implement the replacements. He added that PTA currently has over 3,000 new buses, with 289 coming soon that will be fueled with natural gas.
“Over the coming days, we will be working to increase the size of the fleet to 5,000 buses,” he said. “This will eliminate the chaotic microbus and tuk-tuk systems.” Moreover, he said the PTA is working on the whole system by also seeking to improve the river transportation system and its stops, including developing 16 bus stops from Maspero through Qanater and Helwan. He also hinted at a plan to manufacture vehicles locally in coordination with the Arab Contractors and similar marine arsenals companies.
River transportation serves 1.5-2.5 million passengers per month, he noted.
Amr Nassar, the executive advisor for projects at MCV, said that the production capacity for the factory ranges between 14,000-15,000 vehicles per year; hence, giving them the capacity to cover the needs of public transit, which he estimated at 200-1,000 vehicles per year at most. He pointed to statistics that estimate that each bus removes an estimated 25 cars from the street, stressing upon the need to improve the public transportation system.
He added that the state should designate lanes for buses in new cities so they could avoid traffic, which would save time and improve the quality of service.
Sherif Abbas, the chairperson and CEO of Good Life Insurance Company, said that insurance companies provide different insurance policies for the transportation sector, including insurance on vehicles and properties, as well as policies for public transportation vehicles insurance and personal insurance against accidents.
He added that recent economic changes have put many insurance companies in a tight spot, possibly costing them huge losses, especially as the volume of sales of passenger cars continues to decline.
Ibrahim Labib, the chairperson of the Egyptian Auto Insurance Federation, said that insurance is responsible for a large part of the automotive industry, adding that insurance in general supports many activities and bears a big responsibility in covering microbuses, which are usually involved in many accidents.
Careem’s general manager in Egypt, Hadeer Shalaby, said that her company aims to improve public transit in Egypt. She noted that spreading the culture of the service itself was the biggest challenge facing the company in Egypt.
She added that another challenge was finding high quality drivers that can afford to buy cars to work with the company, in addition to the traffic across Greater Cairo. “With the growth of the company and the service, citizens will abandon their cars and use our and similar services, which will ease the traffic,” she said.
She pointed out that the company aims to introduce new vehicles to Egypt, such as luxurious cars, including Mercedes and BMW.
Abdellatif Waked, Uber Egypt’s general manager, said that Uber has been operating worldwide for over seven years in 700 cities around the globe. He noted that the service it provides is complementary and does not seek competing with public transit.
He expressed his contentment with the company’s business in Egypt, saying that over the course of two years, the company has attracted 45,000 drivers that cover greater Cairo.
He noted that they have been in constant coordination with insurance companies to provide coverage on cars, drivers, and passengers.
Moreover, he explained that 96% of time spent in cars is done in vain, adding that 20% of the area of cities turns into parking garages. “Hence, we began offering communal transport in 30 cities worldwide,” he continued, adding that this method saves money and eases traffic.
The general manager of El-Mobasher, Ali Hassan, said that financial leasing would solve financing problems, especially with the issuance of a new law that allows using financial leasing for funding passenger cars, which is now only limited to transportation vehicles. He predicted this move would push the growth of the sector forward.