I did not know what I was in for until I took my first ride to college. Born and raised in a fringe Governorate where ‘traffic’ is an alien word; I couldn’t quite comprehend why there were always so many people all day everywhere in Cairo, let alone begin to explain why something as simple as commuting to college is a difficult feat.

Apparently, you are not stamped with the official Cairene badge until you experience Cairo’s amusing traffic while on your daily commute. And you are most certainly not a Cairene university student if you don’t embrace that route with elegance and grace.  (Just kidding. The only advantage you could get from sweating in a moving metal box is day-dreaming about dinner.)

Commuting to university in Cairo requires skills and tactics that only hard-core warrior college seniors have mastered. If you’re new to Cairo or are just starting college and you are uncertain of whether you should use a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or public transportation; I’m here to help you find a suitable means of transportation to carry your worn-out student body to lecture halls without losing your mind.

Option #1: Cycling!

Photo Credit

Most university students around the world cycle to their classes. Cycling to university in Cairo may not be on trend  yet but it is a great, healthy, environmentally-friendly way to escape traffic. I know a couple of female and male friends who hop on their bikes every morning to pedal away to college and get their daily workout in as a bonus! If you already have a bike and live within a 10km-radius of your college, then try this out. The downsides of cycling can probably be if you do it on a highway.

Option #2: Choosing to take a public bus 

Photo Credit

Although buses don’t guarantee air conditioning or vacant seats at rush hour; they enjoy advantages unshared by all the other transportation options. The fare is “so far” cheaper than the 9+ Metro ticket. Riding a public bus is the optimal carpooling and gas-saving choice, despite being stuck in traffic and the bus’s frequent stops. 

Option #3: The Metro 

Photo Credit

Count yourself lucky if you live close to a metro station and happen to be a Cairo or Ain Shams University student, for you have the fastest, surest way of arriving on time and forsaking your private space and comfort. For one, taking the subway requires standing so closely next to, and sometimes accidentally hugging, complete strangers. Not to mention withstanding the occasional headache of loud salespeople marketing cheap products. Aside from all these inconveniences, metro rides are the most timely since there is no traffic underground.  

Option #4: Car – Uber/Careem

Photo Credit

If your university is unreachable by bike nor a single means of transport. You may need to opt for a car ride. Whether you drive or use a taxi app, you can use Google Maps to gauge the time needed and avoid jammed routes. The downsides of being seated for God-knows-how-many-minutes can easily be converted to upsides.  You can plan to study either by listening to lecture recordings, useful podcasts, or recording your own notes. You can also revise or type notes if you have the luxury of a backseat.

Study tool and Transportation Method  Listening to an audiobook, lecture recording, or yourself Reading a book, lecture notes, articles, Quizlet 
Car or taxi x Taxi: x x
Bus x x x
Metro x x
Walking x
Cycling x

As Cairenes and college students we consume an absurd chunk of time every day in our rides. So, let’s make the most of this wasted time.

What do you think?

Have anything you’d like to add? Let us know about your University commute in the comments.