Come rush hour, the streets of Cairo, Egypt, descend into mayhem. Cars sit in gridlock traffic, horns blaring all around. Some commuters wait at bus stops, unsure when the next one will come. Others escape into Cairo’s subway stations, only to find themselves lost in a sea of people. Then there are the informal microbuses, packed past capacity with passengers—and with more hanging dangerously from the sides.
“To put it very simply, commuting in Cairo is miserable and stressful,” says Houssam Elokda, an urban activist from Cairo who is currently based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “You're talking about hours of traffic. It’s very unpredictable, and when you are trying to be productive, that's often impossible.”