May 10, 2018 / 8:40 PM / in 5 months

Egypt hikes Cairo metro fare in latest austerity measure

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt will raise the price of tickets on Cairo’s loss-making metro from Friday, state news agency MENA reported on Thursday, more than tripling some fares as the government looks to tighten its finances amid IMF-backed austerity measures.

Commuters will be charged a base fare of 3 Egyptian pounds (17 U.S. cents) for the first 9 stops, 5 Egyptian pounds for up to 16 stops, and a maximum of 7 pounds for anything more than 16, MENA reported, citing a ministry of transportation decision.

Currently, commuters can cover an unlimited number of stops and even switch lines for the same base fare of 2 Egyptian pounds.

The move comes as Egypt pushes ahead with austerity measures tied to a $12 billion three-year IMF loan agreement signed in late 2016 that have included energy subsidy cuts and tax hikes aimed at reining in Egypt’s budget deficit and luring back foreign investors that fled after its 2011 uprising.

The government angered Cairo residents, already hit by a sharp rise in living costs, when it doubled the price of metro tickets last year for millions of commuters.

Discounted rates will be maintained under the new system for students, the elderly, and those with special needs.

The increase comes amid accumulated losses of 618.6 million pounds for the metro system, according to MENA.

($1 = 17.6500 Egyptian pounds)

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Eric Knecht

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