The National Tunnels Authority (NAT) has approached the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (ERDB) to assist with funding the purchase of the new trains which are needed to increase capacity on the metro.

"The operating position of Cairo metro is now at a critical stage," says the ministry. "Operating costs have surpassed revenue with the Egyptian Company for Metro Operations (ECM) facing the significant additional costs of an expanded network, notably Line 3." The ministry says fares have not been increased since at least 2010 despite an inflation rate over the period of 5-12%.

The Ministry of Transport recognises that this is no longer sustainable and plans to replace the current flat rate fare system with a zonal structure. It also plans to introduce a public service contract between NAT and ECM to define the relationship between them, and set clear roles and responsibilities for each organisation.

The ministry says it expects to appoint a consultant during the first quarter of 2016 to conduct a two-phase study lasting one year covering the proposed zonal fare structure, followed by a policy paper and roadmap for the new tariff system. The contract is estimated at €245,000 and will be funded by the Technical Cooperation Fund of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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