It takes 20 minutes to drive from the AUC campus to our apartment in AlRehab. We are so happy with the AUC bus routes; they carry students and faculty all over Cairo in matching blue and white buses with reasonable timeliness. The more popular routes use giant buses, and the less popular routes use tiny buses, but all of them have wi-fi (usually). I’m sure we’ll realize how spoiled we are when we graduate and have to transition to using the Rehab public transportation buses (which are fortunately considerably cheaper).
The AUC buses have a few rules: No eating or drinking, the drivers’ cannot answer their phones unless it is the bus manager, no extra stops besides those scheduled on the bus route, and the collapsible aisle seats that the mini buses are fitted with are not actually for sitting. (I’ve heard a rumor that you’re supposed to show your ID upon entering the bus but I’ve never once seen that happen.) These rules are… erratically enforced (see my earlier thoughts on relationships vs. rules here).
For example: yesterday, every seat in our mini bus filled up but more hopefuls continued to arrive. Some turned away, unperturbed by waiting for the next bus, but others climbed on and began to occupy the usually folded-up, additional aisle seats. When the bus driver (a new employee) arrived and found the aisle full he asked them to vacate the aisle seats, which they did grudgingly. (A Canadian woman behind me commented: “Well, at least it’s much safer now.”) I was surprised by the rule-enforcement and glad I’d arrived earlier enough to get a seat.
But on our 20 minute drive home, the bus driver made 5 stops when passengers informed him they wished to get off (in addition to the regular 7 stops). I couldn’t help but chuckle; the driver wouldn’t fill the bus to its capacity, on principle, but had no problem with making random, additional stops at the impulse of the passengers. (Other times I’ve ridden in AUC buses filled beyond their capacity, while happily enjoying a milkshake. When the aisle seats are filled, it’s a hilarious game of emptying the entire bus so that the passenger in the back can get off at the first stop, and then loading back up again.)