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By Ramadan A. Kader

More than a month after fares of the Cairo underground Metro was hiked by up to 250 per cent, commuters have yet to see a substantial improvement in the service. The fare increase, the second in a year, was announced with the promise of upgrading the Metro.

In recent weeks, passengers were in for yet another unpleasant surprise. The fees of using the toilets at the stations have gone up after they were reportedly leased. The Metro users have been astonished at seeing signs outside the toilets, carrying names of new operators and a higher fee.

Semi-official newspaper Al-Ahram, citing Metro officials, last week reported that the company in charge of the underground has leased some toilets at the three lines of the service.

“The company increased the rent value for the leasees due to the rise in maintenance costs. Therefore, the leasees have increased the admission fee from half pound to one pound,” an unnamed official said. A tour of the toilets, however, made the paper conclude that most of them are in an abysmal state.

“Doesn’t the new increase in the ticket price cover the toilet service as well?” the paper quoted an unnamed passenger as saying. After shelling out the toilet fee, the passenger expected to get his money’s worth.

“I initially thought that the toilet service will be top-notch, but I was shocked on discovering its poor, foul condition.”