Black, white, and pink. Yomna explains the different kinds of taxis in Cairo while teaching us some useful vocabulary and expressions in Egyptian Arabic.
Your plane has landed in Egypt. !أهلا ahlan (Welcome!) Most probably you’ll take a taxi to your destination; taxis are a conveniently available means of transportation at the airport.
First of all, there are three kinds of taxis in Cairo:
To take the black or white taxi, just hail one by waving your hand and saying !تاكْس tāks (Taxi!) When it stops for you, tell the driver where you want to go. For example, فُنْدُق مارْيوت الزّمالك funduʔ māryot izzamālik (the Marriott hotel in Zamalek), وسط البلد wisʈ ilbalad (downtown), or الاهْرامات ilahramāt (the Pyramids).
The black taxi is the old one; it has no meter, so you have to negotiate and agree with the driver on the fare before the ride. For example, to go from Cairo airport to downtown, you can offer .هدْفع سبْعين جِنَيْه hadfa3 sab3īn ginēh (I’ll pay 70 Egyptian pounds.) if traffic is okay. But if it’s at the peak time, “rush hour”, from 3pm to 7pm, he may ask for مية جنيه mīt ginēh (one hundred pounds), and that is reasonable.
The white taxi is a new type of taxi with a fare meter and air-conditioning. You just tell the driver your destination, and make sure the meter is working, or tell him شغّل العدّاد مِن فضْلك šaɣɣal il3addād min faɖlak (Turn on the meter, please.). And the same goes for the air-conditioner: شغل المكيف من فضلك šaɣɣal ilmukayyif min faɖlak (Turn on the A/C, please.). Then you can relax until you reach your destination, give him the fare, and go.
The newest way to get a taxi is to book one from a website or by calling a hotline, such as londoncabegypt.com, Uber, Careem, or the Yellow Cab hotline (tel. 19155). These taxis will reach you wherever and whenever you are with fixed fares for each trip.
Nowadays we’ve been hearing about a new service that will be available soon in Cairo called the Pink Cab which is a taxi for ladies only, so if you are a woman travelling by yourself it will be safe… and pink!