Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1250, (11 - 17 June 2015)
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1250, (11 - 17 June 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Al-Sadat station re-opens?

After dozens of government promises to re-open the Al-Sadat metro station, will this week’s one be kept?, reports Ahmed Morsy

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Al-Sadat metro station below Tahrir Square in central Cairo is scheduled to start operating again in a few days, according to head of the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation (ECMMO) Ali Fadali.

Fadali said the Al-Sadat station, which has been closed for almost two years, is scheduled to re-open within days and before the Holy Month of Ramadan starts on 18 June. “Technicians and engineers are currently working on safety and security precautions in order to ensure the efficiency of the newly-installed safety devices,” he said.

Both the Al-Sadat and Giza metro stations have been closed since August 2013 following the forcible dispersal of two pro-Morsi camps that resulted in nationwide unrest. While the Giza metro station was re-opened in July 2014 after being closed for 328 days, the Al-Sadat station is still locked.

Police and army authorities have repeatedly cited “security concerns” as the reason for the metro station’s closure, seemingly meant to prevent anti-government protesters from assembling in Tahrir Square and using the Al-Sadat station to do so.

Cairo’s Tahrir Square was the iconic arena of the 25 January Revolution.

A source at the ECMMO has been quoted as saying that “additional security measures, costing LE400,000, have recently been installed in the Al-Sadat station, including 20 new surveillance cameras and six metal detectors.”

The metro is one of the fastest and cheapest means of transport in Cairo due to tickets costing LE1. Over 3.5 million commuters in Greater Cairo rely on the subway for their daily transport, according to official estimates by the country’s National Tunnels Authority.

The promise to re-open the stations is not the first, as officials have announced no fewer than 24 times that the Al-Sadat station will re-open during its 20-month closure.

The latest promise was in April, when the ECMMO announced that the station would start operating “within days” but only to allow commuters to use it to switch metro lines and not allowing them to access Tahrir Square.

In December, Minister of Transportation Hani Dahi said the Al-Sadat metro station should be in full operation by the beginning of 2015.

The Al-Sadat station is one of Cairo’s busiest, as it is located between two of the most populous squares in the city, Ramses Square and Abdel-Moneim Riyadh Square. It is also one of only two stations, the other being the Al-Shohada station in Ramses Square itself, that allow commuters to switch between the three underground lines.

As a result, its closure has resulted in additional congestion for commuters at the Al-Shohada station, adding to the inconveniences suffered by millions.

The State Council recommended the re-opening of the station in January, citing more and more complaints about the closure. In a report, the council said there were no “realistic or legal” justifications for the continued closure of the station.

A group of citizens has also sued both the president and the minister of interior for the closure of the Al-Sadat metro station.

In late March, the Nedal Centre for Rights and Freedoms, an NGO, filed an appeal before the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters requesting judges to issue a verdict obliging the authorities to end the closure of the two stations.

However, in April the hearing was dismissed as the court found it did not have the jurisdiction to decide the matter.

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