Taxis contra la contaminación

Nuevos taxis para reducir la contaminación
Image caption Tráfico en Cairo

New taxis to reduce pollution in Cairo

Air quality in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, has been ranked among the worst in the world. However a new scheme to replace the oldest taxis with new, cleaner models is helping to reduce pollution.

Reporter: Yolande Knell

Listen to the story

Cairo is notorious for its overcrowded roads, irregular driving practices and rickety old vehicles, but also for its air pollution. In recent months though, environmental studies indicate there have been signs of improvement. That's due in part to the removal of many of the capital's antiquated black and white taxis. Most of those dating back to the 1960s and 70s were in a poor state of repair.

After new legislation demanded their removal from the roads, a low interest loan scheme was set up with three Egyptian banks so drivers could buy new cars. The government pays about $900 for old ones to be scrapped and advertising on the vehicles helps cover repayments.

The idea has proved popular with customers - they can now travel in air-conditioned comfort - and because the new cabs are metered, they don't have to haggle over fares. Banks and car manufacturers are glad for the extra business in tough economic times. As for the taxi drivers, most are delighted to be behind the wheel of new cars, although there have been a few complaints about switching from black and white to a plain white colour. 'Our cabs used to look distinctive', one man told me 'they were part of our heritage, like the pyramids. If you saw them in an old movie, you knew it was shot in Cairo'.

Yolande Knell, BBC News, Cairo

Listen to the words

notorious bien conocido o muy famoso por hacer algo malo

ricketyen mala condición y a punto de romperse


antiquated anticuados, de estilo viejo

a low interest loan schemeun plan oficial para prestar dinero (a conductores) especialmente creado para que puedan devolverlo fácilmente

scrappeddesguazados, destruidos

haggle over fares llegar a un acuerdo sobre un precio que se considera aceptable tanto para el pasajero como para el conductor

behind the wheelconduciendo, detrás del volante

distinctivediferente y fácil de reconocer heritage algo que forma parte de la cultura de una sociedad como la tradición, un idoma o un edificio histórico que todavia existe