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Buses are an inexpensive means of traveling between cities. Generally they are safe, if not always relaxing. Most companies have installed videos to play Arabic and Indian movies at top volume, even on night buses. If this counts as local color rather than an annoyance, take a bus. It's wise to buy your ticket a day in advance, especially when traveling during peak periods. However, be aware that currently the security authorities do not encourage independent bus travel on routes down the Nile Valley, preferring visitors to travel by train or by plane, modes of travel that can more easily be kept under surveillance by relatively small numbers of officers.
Popular bus companies include the East Delta Bus Company, El Gouna Bus Company, Super Jet, and Upper Egyptian Bus Company. Buses in Cairo depart from Turgoman Station (now officially called Cairo Gateway Station) off Gala' Street, Downtown.
Most visitors to Cairo aren't likely to use the local city buses, but they are far and away the cheapest mode of transportation in the city, with tickets costing a mere 25pt to £E2. Buses arrive at and depart from stations at Maydan Tahrir, Maydan Ataba, Opera Square, Pyramids Road, Ramses Station, and the Citadel. Route numbers are sometimes missing from the buses, so it is always best to ask where a bus is going before it lurches off with you onboard.
Much less of an experience, and more reliable, are the orange-trimmed minibuses. They charge slightly more than the larger buses (£E2) and are usually much less crowded. If you decide to use either type of bus service, be very cautious. Especially on large buses, pickpockets are known to look for potential victims.
The Cairo Transport Authority operates a fleet of comfortable air-conditioned buses that are surprisingly convenient and affordable. Marked with a large CTA logo on the side, for £E2 the bus will take you from the airport, through the city's northeastern suburbs and Downtown, eventually passing through Giza to deposit you at the foot of the Pyramids. Route 356 stops at Abdel Meneim Riyadh Station in Maydan Tahrir, and route 799 runs via Shubra to Maydan Ramses, but you can flag them down or ask the driver to let you off at any point along the routes.
To and from Maydan Tahrir: No. 400 for Heliopolis and Cairo International Airport (all terminals) and 27 to the airport via Maydan Roxi; 268, 63, and 66 for the Khan al-Khalili; 951 and 154 for Ibn Tulun Mosque and the Citadel; 800, 900, and 997 for the Pyramids in Giza; all lines except 154, 951, and 268 for Ramses Station.
To and from Maydan Ataba and Opera Square: 948 for Cairo International Airport; 950 and 80 for Khan al-Khalili; 104, 17, and 202 for Maydan Tahrir and Mohandiseen; 94 for Fustat and the Mosque of ‘Amr; 50 and 150 for the Shrine of Imam Sahfe'i; 48 for Zamalek; 57 and 951 for the Citadel.
To and from the Pyramids: 804 for Ramses Square and the Citadel; 905 for Maydan Tahrir and the Citadel.
To and from Ramses Station: 971 for the airport, 65 for Khan al-Khalili, 174 for the Citadel, 83 to Fustat.
To and from the Citadel: 840 for Maydan Ataba and Maydan Tahrir; 905 for Rodah Island, Shar'a al-Haram, and the Pyramids.
Another option is the microbus, or service taxis. These privately owned 12-seaters, painted blue and white, cost 60 pt to £E1 and go from all the major terminals to just about anywhere you want to go. They are unnumbered, however, so ask the driver where he's headed.