Transportation in Alexandria is rather difficult to understand. In this guide, we’ll explain what options you have and explain why sticking to Uber and similar services might be the best option.
Travelling through Egypt isn’t the most easiest or convenient thing on earth. Getting to Alexandria isn’t exactly easy either as the airport is served by only very few airlines and is located far away from the city (the actual Alexandria Airport is under renovation). For domestic travel, there is also a long distance train, which connects Alexandria with Cairo with several daily departures.
I’ve checked out this train and thought it was reasonably comfortable and maybe the best way to travel between the two cities. Other than that, cars are your only real option.
Interestingly, Alexandria has a very long history of trams. This kind of public transportation has always been the backbone of public transportation and at times, Alexandria was even the only city in whole Africa with a functioning tram system. Even today, there are an incredible 20 lines left, which are separated into two operating systems. The Ramleh Tram (6 lines) goes from the city center to the east with small detours, but mainly one route from the Ramleh Station in the city center to Farmuk in the east of the city. The Madina Tram operates in the city center and in the west of Alexandria with a total of 16 different lines, operating on four main lines with various routes in the city center. Fares for tram travel in Alexandria are very reasonable.
While there is very limited information about tram travel in Alexandria, the situation is even worse when it comes to buses. Those support the tram network and consist of dozens of different routes, several operators and a very basic route schedule and timetable. Thus, you’ll most likely see buses throughout the city, but you won’t really see stations or find a timetable, neither in the city nor online.
Thus, you can only understand the bus system by asking the drivers. Tickets are cheap, but finding the right route is extremely challenging. Thus, I’d rather recommend staying away from buses as you most likely won’t get anywhere without knowing the language.
The most common option to get around town for foreigners are taxis. Those are available throughout the city and are, as you’d expect, operated by several different companies. Thus, there are huge differences when it comes to the quality of the cars and the prices. You shouldn’t expect any high standards as most cars are old and don’t have seat belts.
Drivers have often only speak very limited English and negotiating the price before your ride is essential. To find a taxi, just keep your eyes open for cars colored black and yellow. The normal fare should start with 5 EGP with a charge of 3 EGP for every further kilometer. As you can see, the prices are incredibly cheap, which makes taking a taxi in the city a very convenient option. Yet, never forget to negotiate the price before (!) taking your ride.
My personal recommendation for getting around in Alexandria is Uber. The app is available for all smartphones and allows you to order a driver from anywhere. If you have an Egyptian SIM card, things are substantially easier. If you don’t, you will always need to look for WiFi. Nevertheless, using Uber in Alexandria is totally worth it as you don’t have to discuss about prices. Cars are usually in a better condition and drivers mostly have basic English skills, too. As the prices are very low, taking Uber in Alexandria (and even for longer transfers, e.g. to Cairo) would be my recommendation.