Taxi’s are a thing of beauty in Morocco. No matter your travel budget, you can take a taxi anywhere. While we walked to most things that we wanted to see, we ended up taking a lot more taxis than normal on other trips. They’re just so cheap! But, there’s a bit to know about the taxi system in Morocco before you just hop in a cab. Mainly, the difference between the two kinds of taxis you can find.
NEVER get into a taxi that isn’t clearly marked as a Petit taxi; the taxi’s are colour-coded to the region. Casablanca and Fes, where we visited, were all red. For a full list of colour-codes, check out the list here. You can also find tips on how to haggle for your cab ride, something we didn’t care about doing.
These are the jalopy type cars are everywhere. They’re dirt cheap, some a little dirty, and usually come with a few ‘friends’. We were told, specifically, by our cab driver not to wear our seat-belt. Why? Because Africa’s insane. But, also because a lot of the taxi’s don’t even have seat-belts; they’ve been ripped out so they can fit in more people.
Petit Taxi’s stop along the road, sometimes like a bus, and can pick up passengers as long as the person is on the way.
Before you get upset and vow to never take a Petit Taxi anywhere in Morocco, I’ll tell you that we took many a Petit taxi, paid our 20 dirhams (one time we were told to pay whatever we saw fit…funnily enough, that ended up being one of our most expensive rides as we tipped him greatly and paid 200 dirhams – see why in this post here) and went on our merry little way without a single person joining us.
Once, we ended up in an off-duty cab, happy enough to take us where we wanted to go as long as we waited for his daughter to come out of the mall. We waited less than 5 minutes and got to listen to the both of them sing adorably along to the radio.
A Petit Taxi will be colour-coded to the region and you’ll usually get these by flagging them down in the street.
Petit Taxi’s come with day rates and night rates. The night rate goes up a little bit more (about 50 dirhams, which is about $6 cdn), but you’ll barely notice the difference. When it comes to night travel in different cities, I stop caring about the price and just worry about my safety. Although, we never felt unsafe in Morocco, save for a few uneasy moments of solitude in the desert and when we had to walk through the dimly lit souk at night. Which, turned out fine in the end.
My nerves had gotten the best of me BEFORE we left the hotel restaurant to get back to our Riad. Quiet maze-like streets with a few lanterns strewn here and there make for some nervous fast-walking, but once you see children playing in the streets and people milling about happily, those feelings will soon dissolve. The souks, while stressful for tourists no matter when you jump into the fun, is the marketplace for everyone in Morocco, with restaurants, shops, schools, and religious centres squished together.
Petit Taxi’s cannot leave the city limits and if you’re looking for a ride between towns, then you must order a Grand Taxi.
These are usually sedan-type vehicles, and cost a little extra. They can ‘fit’ 6 passengers in there, which sounds like a real squish.
We used Grand Taxi’s as, essentially, private drivers on the cheap. I say cheap because once you convert Moroccan Dirhams over to dollars, it’s cheaper (and waaaaay less stressful) than renting your own vehicle, AND you get your own guide. I say private because, if you don’t want to wait until the car is full – or stop along the way, you have to pay for the extra seats.
Sometimes, you’ll have the option of waiting for extra stops, or if you’re going to the desert and there aren’t many, you will be forced into paying for the extra seats. We took a Grand Taxi to the desert and it cost us 800 Moroccan Dirhams, which was just a little more than $80 Canadian. If we would have waited (like, hours), we could have ended up paying less. But, we stopped along the way to see some cool sights and felt comfortable enough to relax in the backseat. Best 80bucks I’ve ever spent.
Driving can be a bit nerve-racking in Morocco (in one particular cab ride, our driver took us for a bit of off-roading through a field to get around a traffic jam) and the noise-pollution can be grating. Honking is used for every type of situation. If you’re thanking someone, if you’re saying hi, if you’re pissed off, if you’re telling them to get into the lane, if you’re alerting someone of a change, honking is the true language of Casablanca.
Not sure what else you need to know about Morocco?