There is so much to say about a taxi when it comes to this form or transportation in Egypt. Not only are they color coded per city, the drivers and the experience itself is just as colorful.
Cairo is known for its old black taxis and within the last three years, the government initiated a system to replace the black, worn out taxis with white ones. The ageing Fiat and Lada models which were over 20 years on the road are now exchanged with Hyundai and Speranza cars. One also finds other models such as Peugeot and even private cars being transformed into white taxis. Recent statistics have found that in the Greater Cairo there are 47 773 old taxis and 34 370 new taxis.
Nowadays in Cairo the taxis are referred to as “white” taxis and “black” taxis. In Aswan the cars are white and dark blue, in Luxor they are white and light blue, and in Sharm El Sheikh they are white and royal blue. Alexandria is known for its black and yellow taxis while the smaller governorates have white and green cars. There are a number of yellow taxis on the road. They are the kind of cabs that one calls to be picked up at a certain time and they are also somewhat more expensive to use. They are not famous among the locals either.
As for the colorful personalities of the drivers, you get three types of drivers. One is someone who cons anyone who doesn’t seem to know the reasonable fair that should be charged for the trip – mainly being drivers of “black” taxis. The other is a person who cons tourists, even when using a “white” taxi which makes use of a meter system to calculate the fair. Lastly, there is the driver who is working an honest job. He will never overcharge you, he will never deny you the correct change and he will never drive other routes to make up for the short distance. The first two types are the minority, but as all drivers, they don’t mean any danger, they are just trying to make a living. The “black” taxis have no meter system so it is compulsory to agree on a fair before getting into the car. That way neither the driver nor the passenger can take advantage of each other.
Most drivers don’t speak English so for a tourist it is best to make use of a “white” taxi. All they need to understand is where you wish to go and they will transport you there. If you are lucky and he speaks a little English, he will welcome you to his country, ask you where you are from and welcome you again.
Taxis are a very convenient means of transportation in the major cities. They are everywhere and most drivers will agree on any destination you ask for.
Last but not least, the driving experience is as colorful as the driver and its car. It can either be a quick and pleasant drive, or it can be a boring, traffic packed drive. For tourists, even the relatively normal driving experience for the locals will be a deaf defying drive as the driving style in Egypt is like nowhere in the world. On the larger roads they drive what seems as high speed, but the speedometer never reaches over 120km/h. don’t fear, traffic accidents by taxi’s have droppd by 6.5% in recent years and up to now, tourists can surely claim they had a scary ride, but not many accidents have threatened their lives.