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Cairo's subway is perhaps the cheapest in the world. For a fare equivalent to 11 cents, you can ride as far as you want across the overcrowded, traffic-choked Egyptian capital.The 30-year-old Cairo Metro typifies Egypt's deep economic inequalities and the large distances between classes. Unlike subways in New York, Washington, Paris and elsewhere in the world where the well-off and the poor mingle to at least some extent, the passengers who push and shove in and out of Cairo's metro cars every day are overwhelmingly poor or from the lower middle classes.Nearly a third of Egypt's population of 93 million lives under the poverty line, earning less than $2 a day.Only some trains are air conditioned, leaving people on other trains sweltering in the punishing summer heat. Commuters sometimes face 15- or 20-minute waits, making packed rush-hour trains even more crowded.The subway's trains and 61 stations are depressingly bare.Commuter Dina Abul-Fetouh recalled how once while she was riding in one of the two women-only cars on every train, she got sick with stomach pain and all the women rushed to comfort her.
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