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. áhlan! !أهْلاً 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: black, white, ordered.
To take the black or white taxi, just hail one by waving your hand and saying tāks! !تاكْس Taxi! When it stops for you, tell the driver where you want to go. For example, fúnduʔ māryut izzamālik فُنْدُق مارْيوت الزّمالك the Marriott hotel in Zamalek, wisʈ ilbálad وِسْط البلد downtown, or ilʔahramāt الأهْرامات 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 hádfa3 sab3īn ginēh هدْفع سبْعين جِنيْهْ I’ll pay 70 Egyptian pounds if traffic is okay. But if it’s at the peak time, “rush hour”, from 3 pm to 7 pm, he may ask for mīt ginēh ميةْ جِنيْهْ 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 šáɣɣal il3addād min fáɖlak شغّل العدّاد مِن فضْلك Turn on the meter, please. And the same goes for the air-conditioner: šáɣɣal ilmukáyyif min fáɖlak شغّل المُكيِّف مِن فضْلك 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 traveling by yourself it will be safe… and pink!