Cairo traffic taming
on two wheels
Thomas Friedman, in yesterday's NYTimes Op-Ed Section, writes on the difficult choices for transportation infrastructure facing the Egyptian government:
The government will spend almost $11 billion this year to subsidize gasoline and cooking fuel; gas here is only about $1.30 a gallon. Sounds like a good deal for the poor — only the poor have no cars, and the fuel subsidies mean less money for mass transit.He appears to have missed the obvious alternative to both cars and mass transit. Over a week ago, Nashwa Abdel-Tawab, an Al-Ahram journalist reported on Cairo resident, Mohamed Walid,
... a well- educated and well-to-do young man who has decided to make a major change in his life. "When I tell people that I ride my bike to work, they say 'that's great' but they look at me as if I'm crazy ... With most people, our conversation stops there. A few say they would like to ride a bike to work, but then go on to give a list of excuses why that would be virtually impossible to do in Cairo."Walid goes on:
Everyone's got a 'reason' why they can't ride their bike to work. What baffles me is that I don't hear anyone giving reasons for why it has become unbearable to ride cars in this city. I think that the key to any change is for people to believe that they can actually change their lives to the better.And so it would seem that Friedman also hasn't offered any reasons why it's becoming unbearable to ride cars ... anywhere.