Cairo Public Buses with Wi-Fi

As of 2017, the buses are as neglected as other public transportation and without a working air-conditioner and often with no Wi-Fi, yet are charged for 3 Egyptian pounds!

A new limited number of mini-buses that are aimed to be used for public transportation in Cairo province, was unveiled today. The decision was announced 2 months ago and the project was funded by a loan from the World Bank and it was said that the buses would be operational starting from June 2014, but they are now available to ride as of today. What’s different about these buses is that they would have an open-access internet connection (open Wi-Fi), allowing riders to connect to it wirelessly. They also have a screen inside with an automated announcement of the current and the next bus station, with GPS coordination updating its location information every 2 minutes, in order for riders to check online the time it would take the nearest bus to arrive and for the monitored network to remotely inform the bus driver to take the route of a specific line as needed. It also has the number of its line and main station names on an external LED screen, which has been available for almost 2 years in a limited number of other public non-air-conditioned buses.

However, the problem with the open Wi-Fi is that they are easier to spy on, which would even more threat the already threatened privacy in Egypt. We don’t need Wi-Fi in public transportation, we need the mobile networks to fairly charge us and provide us better services, because we pay them extremely too much and get extremely little!

It is still unknown how much their ticket would cost (2014/1/1 Update: Their ticket costs 3 Egyptian pounds; 2014/3/25 Update: I was told by a rider that it was reduced to 2 and a half Egyptian pounds), but it would be printed instantly on a tiny paper as the bills in restaurants are. The bill would have the name of the driver, numbers of the bus line and the bus plate number. You would have the option to pay with a magnetic card that is purchased when you make a subscription.

As of 2013, the air-conditioned buses are rare and cost 2 Egyptian pounds, which is quite expensive to the salaries of most Egyptians to ride everyday. Most of the supposedly air-conditioned buses need to be fixed and their air-conditioning system is always broken! They lack regular maintenance!

The whole public transportation system which includes the rapid transit (metro), need to be greatly enhanced and have air-conditioning in summer, because riding them is extremely tiring of the extreme heat, the bad ventilation (particularly in the rapid transit) and the extreme over-crowding! Streets and transportation are always extremely over-crowded most of the day. Egyptians drive chaotically and the circumstances generally perpetuate these problems. Some streets have no space for the micro-buses to stop and that makes them block streets to allow passengers to go out or get in.

I am always happy for any development, but I personally may never ride these buses because, as I explained, the streets are always over-crowded and I try to ride the metro in part of my journey, because it does not get stuck as much as other means of transportation in traffic congestions. Additionally, I may not benefit of these buses because it is obvious that they would have limited lines and if you are living in Greater Cairo, you would understand that you don’t always choose what to ride or when, because if you do, you would be more late than you would already be for work or whatever you would plan to do!

See also:
* Grande-é Cote d’Ivoire witnesses the first electronic buses for short distances (see picture; 2013/11/4)

Commentary on “Revolutionary Egypt: The Worst of Times, the Best of Times”

Even though the article is long enough and would have been much longer, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting on it and I’m very glad the discussion was opened. I believe that debating always helps humans discover new ideas and solutions.

First of all, yes I agree that debating Egypt politics nowadays has become over-simplified to “the army versus the Muslim Brotherhood” narrative. That’s a counter-productive political tragedy!

Does neoliberal capitalist mean to keep the army and the intelligence in control of 40% of the economy, having forced military recruits in forced labor camps doing things unrelated to military training for the benefit of the army leaders’ economic interests? Morsi’s government was not capitalist! They were just sharing the power with the military establishment.
The Muslim Brotherhood was supported by the US and possibly its allies, as it succeeded in lobbying to convince them that it’s better for keeping international interests, peace and stability in Egypt, when those who are regarded as opposition were consistently making racist narratives and calling for an end of peace with Israel.

By the way, the Muslim Brotherhood is able to feed the poor and have its social programs because they have economic empires and also collect money from charity, so you pay for charity only for that money to be in the free will of the Muslim Brotherhood, apart from the money laundry they are consistently engaged in. 🙂
If you don’t appeal enough to the state (the intelligence and the army) or if they felt that you are independent enough, they won’t let you become economically powerful. That explains why it’s either the Muslim Brotherhood or the 1952-militarist-state-loyalists are the influential ones in politics.

It is imprecise to describe the political era before Morsi as “the previous Mubarak military dictatorship”, because it implies that Mubarak established a military dictatorship and that it ended after Morsi was given office, when the army officers of the year 1952 were the ones who established the military dictatorship which is still in control.

Mixing violence with quasi-civil disobedience is not new. It’s the all-time political game of Islamists. It’s done at Egypt borders, in Gaza and the West Bank. The difference is, it is always believed when it is against Israel or its interests, but it was fortunately not believed very much when it happened in Egypt.

Finally, I’m always cautious about the high risk from misguided masses to help make a political situation much worse than what they already have had. Take the 20th century Russian model as an example. I realized that some intellectuals, especially revolutionary/liberation intellectuals, locally or globally, have suspicious relations with secret services, they are recruited to create an intellectual atmosphere of misguidance to misguide opinion leaders who in turn misguide the masses, the case which only serves the purposes of authoritarian people and entities.

See also:
* Emad el Dafrawi: Deviation from the Revolution (2011/05/16)

Update on Objecting Military Service تحديث بخصوص الاعتراض على الخدمة العسكرية

Today, 2013/7/25, I sent letters to the current officials of Egypt: the Minister of Defense Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, the acting President of the republic Adly Mansour, the acting Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei and the interim Prime Minister Hazem Al Beblawi.

That makes it the second time since I sent letters to the officials in 2012/4/12, asking for my right to conscientious objection.

اليوم, 2013/7/25, أرسلت جوابات إلى المسئولين الحاليين فى مصر: وزير الدفاع عبد الفتاح السيسى, رئيس الجمهورية للفترة الانتقالية عدلى منصور, نائب الرئيس محمد البرادعى و رئيس الوزراء المؤقت حازم الببلاوى.

و بذلك تصبح المرة الثانية التى أرسل فيها جوابات إلى المسئولين منذ 2012/4/12, مطالبا بحقى بالاعتراض الضميرى.

Minister of Defense - el Sisi 2013-7-25 - 1

Minister of Defense - el Sisi 2013-7-25 - 2

President - Adly Mansour 2013-7-25 - 1

President - Adly Mansour 2013-7-25 - 2

Vice President - el Baradei 2013-7-25 - 1

Vice President - el Baradei 2013-7-25 - 2

Prime Minister - Hazem el Beblawi 2013-7-25 - 1

Prime Minister - Hazem el Beblawi 2013-7-25 - 2

My Testimony about How I was Assaulted near Tahrir

This is my testimony about the assault I was subjected to in 2013/5/3, approximately at 11:30pm. I’ll scan the bill of the hospital later and post it.

Summary: I was assaulted near Tahrir square. My money, my mobile phone, my earphones and my identification cards were stolen by 4 thieves who stabbed me by knives, making me two incised wounds along other scratches and bruises. I reported to the police and provided a medical report proving the case, after going to a hospital for surgical suture. Now I’m on medication for 21 days, waiting to see how bad the injuries would leave scars and whether I would have other complications or not.

It was Friday night. I was about to go home after I was downtown. I was alone, looking at the graffiti at the walls around Tahrir square and on the American University. There were some youth playing at the sandy space in front of Tahrir Administrative Complex. There were no signs that this place had any demonstrations or that it was isolated, it’s Tahrir!

I noticed cars coming from behind, at first I thought they were coming from the Nile Palace street, then I realized that the street was still not open. So I approached the wall which was built months ago, since the anti-American riots took place near Tahrir. I wanted to see the graffiti on the wall, as I sometimes see nice pictures on the internet about them. It was quite dark and badly lit, and I saw very faded drawings. I wanted to see the other side of the wall. I couldn’t find anywhere to go out to the other side, so I was on my way out to take the subway. At that time there were two motorcycles, with one carrying three men and another one carrying two men. The motorcycles were of some cheep Chinese model. They were without registration plates. The thieves were in their 20s. Four of them quickly came to me and told me to bring them everything I had quickly. Two of them had knives. They were clearly not kitchen knives. There was no time to even argue. They surrounded me, then hit me till I fell on the ground. One of them covered my eyes, I wore my prescriptive glasses, he almost cracked it. He also was gagging my mouth very strongly. It was even very strangely thoughtless of them as some of them were asking me and waiting for me to answer, and to bring them all I had and if I had something else, as they had already made me fell on the ground, while restricting me, while on the ground which had old debris of burned stuff. They stole my money, my mobile phone, its earphones, my national identification card and my club card. They even stole a half-full pack of chewing gum I had! During their assault, I heard one of them saying, “Injure him! Injure him!”, many times. They stabbed me, making me two incised wounds in my left arm and on my right elbow. I was wounded on my hands because I was trying to protect my abdomen, to prevent them from ripping my clothes and my pants, and I was mostly concerned with trying to move the knives away off of me. I made a report in a hospital proving the case and provided it later to the police station of the Nile Palace neighborhood. My left hand palm was hit as well my middle finger of it. I had other scratches around my neck as the thieves cut the wire of the earphone which I attached strongly around my neck, as they were forcibly stealing it. There are other scratches and bruises on my arms and other small wounds.

As the thieves finally made sure that they stole everything they could find from me and injured me, they ran away on their motorcycles. Luckily, they weren’t able to steal 2 and a half Pounds of metal money I had. They were squeezed and they didn’t notice them. I was able to go home without begging, thanks to the coins. I was searching for anyone selling paper tissues, thinking that I could stop my wounds from spilling blood all over my t-shirt and my pants, on the black dust. I couldn’t find any at that time, I was in front of Hardee’s. I asked a worker who came out to go to the bathroom. He asked me whether I was injured in a demonstration. The principal came out too and asked for some paper tissues for me. At that time I realized that many people noticed I was badly injured and all wanted to know what was happening. I was distracted and didn’t feel like repeating my words over and over. I asked to go to the bathroom, even though they said they were cleaning the floor upstairs, they allowed me. I couldn’t clean my arms. They got me an antiseptic and put it on my right arm wound and gave me a piece of cotton to hold my wound which didn’t stop bleeding. I bled very much that I was starting to feel I was about to faint. I asked the worker again to give me water with sugar. As he was getting it, he told me that even he was injured and robbed one day, as he was going out of Hardee’s, to go home. I was also told that they are familiar with such cases. I drank it and stayed for 5 minutes. Then I asked the people working in Hardee’s which police station is responsible for the area to make report in it. One of them was confused, whether it was the police station of the Nile Palace neighborhood or Abdin Palace neighborhood. I concluded now that it was because of the split street which might have confused him, that there was no direct open street to the Nile Palace police station, but there was an open street to Abdin Palace police station. I wasn’t able to go by a taxi, I had no enough money and I couldn’t call anyone I knew, because I didn’t memorize their numbers, of the trauma. I only remembered my home telephone number, which is broken, anyway, and no one would had come fast enough, as I thought at that time. I walked all the way from Hardee’s to Abdin, holding the cotton on my wound. I passed by the US embassy on my way to the Nile Palace police station, where I later knew that an American academic was stabbed nearby in neck (2013/5/9). After reaching the police station, they asked me about what happened and told me that I should report in the Nile Palace police station. So I walked and kept on asking many times on my way, till I went to the Nile Palace police station. It took me about 2 hours after the incident. I was very exhausted. I reported the incident and what mattered the most to me was reporting for my stolen cards, as they are usually thrown near crime scenes by criminals, as if it’s a proof that the one identified in the card is the criminal. I was given a stamped temporary replacement paper from the police station. In the police station, they told me to come back again next day to continue my report.

After leaving the police station, I went to the main street and asked a security guard at some hotel or building, where to go to Ramses street, to go home. He noticed I was badly injured and asked me whether I wanted any help, money or to call someone. Then he insisted to give me some water. At that time, I didn’t realize I was very thirsty, after drinking some water. He even wanted me to take the plastic bottle with me. I thanked him and actually I thought that I wouldn’t be able to hold it with my injured hands, so I left it with him. So, I made my way to where I could ride a share-taxi (micro-bus), with one pound, till Ramses, and with one and a half pounds, to my home, in Heliopolis, east of Cairo, where a man next to me sat and noticed my injury and was disgusted then changed his seat.

I went home quickly to get some money and to see if any nearby pharmacy was open could help me, then searched for open hospitals, it was about 4:30am 2013/5/4. I found a charity hospital operated by the Religious Endowment, a doctor told me that he had no anesthetic and asked me, whether the Muslim Brotherhood injured me in a demonstration or not. The question was quite surprising to me. But anyway, I went to another hospital which wanted more money than I brought, so I went back home again to bring more money to make the operation to stitch both of my incised wounds. I asked them to make a report proving my case, to provide it to the police station. They stamped it. I went home and slept till around 1pm. I went to the the Nile Palace police station and provided them with the medical report. The medical report said what I told them about the assault and that I was given two surgical sutures in both arms and it would take 21 days to heal after taking medication, if there were no other complications. The police station showed me many pictures for thieves who were caught before in similar incidents, but unfortunately I couldn’t recognize anyone.

Now I have two peaces of cotton on both arms held with plaster and a plaster on my finger, with a wound on my left hand palm. I went to take tetanus serum syringe, on my right arm, which also made my muscle swell. I take three medicines, a very high dose antibiotic and anti-inflammatory with analgesic and anti-inflammatory with anti-eczema medicines. The wounds have to be disinfected daily and to put new cotton on them. I am also supposed to take another tetanus serum a month later and after that by another 6 months. I wish that the thieves didn’t infect me with other potentially dangerous or incurable diseases.

Now I’m waiting to see how I would heal and how big the scars would be, after having to remove the stitches of my arms in a week.

In the end, I would advise all the people not to go near the built walls which block many downtown streets, so as not to be subjected to similar assaults, as I also read now about women who even had their clothes torn and raped in similar areas, especially near Tahrir.

In the Nile Palace police station, some people were saying that they don’t want to go near demonstrations, so that no one claims they injure demonstrators. They even say that it is difficult for them to catch criminals in demonstrations because it would be told that they are assaulting demonstrators. In the police station, someone of them told me that a 14-year old teenager was stabbed in his heart, as thieves were forcibly trying to steal his mobile phone and he was found in the street sinking in his blood. I even remember an organizer for demonstrations whose name is Mohamed Gamal el Masri, who was stabbed in his heart last year, on his way to a demonstration.

I’m very saddened to see our situation in Egypt like that. Since 2011, we, in Egypt didn’t benefit anything, people don’t trust each other more than before, like that man working in Hardee’s who advised me not to report about the assault and only report for losing my identification card as he said that they would make me troubles and won’t believe me, and as I mentioned that the police officers feel that people don’t trust them, especially demonstrators. People are divided, on the verge of civil war and political movements are very fragmented, while people continue to be injured, blinded and killed, for what? With all of the pain and trauma I’m going through, it is very little to what I read about other victims I mentioned.

See also:
* Facebook event: a protest made by a mother of an American girl who died in Egypt on Monday 2013/5/6, as she was running away of gunmen, then was hit by a bus (2013/5/7; screen shot;
* Youtube video: The Egyptian actor, Mohamed Ramadan said, thank god no thug can forcibly rob him because the thugs consider him a role model (2013/5/7)
* NBC: American academic stabbed in neck near US Embassy in Cairo (2013/5/9; I passed by the US embassy on my way to the Nile Palace police station!)