TAKING A TAXI IN MOROCCO – SURVIVAL KIT

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Taking a taxi in Africa and Middle East by an European may be a #CultureShock;)

I’ve heard stories about wild taxi drivers in Ivory Coast. In Turkey I’ve seen drivers like from Tokyo Drift and in Egypt I was amazed that 6 people can ride a tiny motorbike.

I do my best to travel within Morocco as much as I can and every time I visit a new city I realize how little I know! There is no one to tell you the secret rules in a city so I decided to collect and share them with you to make your travel smooth and pleasant (and with a pocket full of dirhams).

Here are some tips on how not to get ripped off your money and some things you should know:

1. No “how much” question. If you ask this questions you give the driver an opportunity to overcharge you because you show them that you’re not aware of the rules. I have read on many travel blogs that “you have to haggle for a taxi price” which is totally not true, in all big cities in Morocco there is a counter and not a fixed price for a ride!

2. In Morocco some locals (old generation) use 2 currencies: dirhams and riyals. If you hear a huge amount it may be in riyals- don’t get scared and just ask to convert it to dirhams.

3. Every city has a different color for taxi kbira (grande/big) and taxi sghira (petite/small).

4. In some cities the price is fixed and there is no counter in the car. You won’t know what’s the price unless you know a local or read my guide;). It is usually in the small cities like Essaouira or Ouarzazate

5. Small taxis take only 3 people at once. Big taxis up to 6. If you want to be comfortable you can pay for 2 seats- the driver will not stop for the 6th person then.

6. Taking a taxi from a train station or a bus stop will always cost you more in most touristy and big cities. Much more. Drivers know that people are in a rush, have no choice or don’t know the rules and they may charge you for example 100 dhs for a ride which is worth 12 dhs. If you don’t have a heavy baggage walk for 300 metres and catch a taxi from the street.

7. “Salam” is a word that works miracles. If you get in a taxi saying “hello” the probability of being overcharged increases. If you say “salam” instead you will be treated in a different way. Why? Moroccans appreciate when foreigners try to speak their crazy language:).

8. When you try to catch a taxi and there is another passenger- you have to ask the driver if he is willing to take you to the place. In big cities many drivers will also refuse you because a) the place is too far b) because they are going for a lunch c) because there is traffic jam. Brace yourself! Don’t be surprised when you take a taxi and the driver stops for other people:) if they are going in the same direction they will probably jump in the car and have a ride with you;)

Remember that every city has its own rules!

OUARZAZATE:
Petite taxi always costs 4 dhs. No matter if you take it to the nearest bar or the other side of the city. Big taxi has a fixed price per person for a ride. For example Ouarzazate-Kelaa Mgouna is 30 dhs.

ESSAOUIRA:
Each ride with a small taxi costs 6,5 dhs. Always have coins with you! Drivers are not this rough and if they overcharge you it will be a little sum (but since you know that the regular price is 6,5 you just give an exact amount without asking “how much?”).

CASABLANCA:
Minimum price of a small taxi is 7,5 dhs which means if you take a taxi and the counter shows 4dhs you have to pay 7,5. Big taxi within the city costs 4,5 or 6,5 dhs. It is also quite a comfortable means of transport when you want to go outside the city.Drivers drive fast and the price is more or less like a bus/train. Since Casablanca is not very touristy drivers rarely try to cheat you but still there are nasty ones who will use any opportunity ;). Always check if the counter is on. Daily tarif starts with 2dhs and changes 20 cents every 80 metres. Night tarif starts with 3 dhs and changes 30 cents. Some drivers try to be smart and when they are asked to switch the counter on they put the night tarif;) happened to me once but I used some magic words and didn’t pay a dirham more. Big taxis have special signs- since they go far they have no time to stop and ask each person where they are going. Only some locals know the signs: for example in you wanna go to a place in Sbata near hammam you pretend to be washing your arm:D. If you wanna go to a district (I forgot the name) with a psychiatric hospital, you shake your hand near your head like a psycho;) etc etc…

An artist from Casablanca, Mohamed Amine el Bellaoui aka Rebel Spirit made this awesome infography with gestures when catching a white taxi ;)
An artist from Casablanca, Mohamed Amine el Bellaoui aka Rebel Spirit made this awesome infography with gestures when catching a white taxi ;)

 

RABAT:
Minimum price is 5 dhs. You ride with a counter like in Casa.

MARRAKESH:

It is not a city… it is a jungle! I personally hate taking a taxi in Marrakesh. In 99% of cases you will be overcharged. Minimum price is 5 dhs. You should ride with a counter but drivers try to be smart and they may do their best to avoid switching the counter on. Many drivers will tell you the price for the ride before getting on the taxi. Wrong! In opposite to Casa, even speaking darija doesn’t help too much. In Casa sometimes I am charged less when I prove to know some local language. In Marrakech not really. (This may be because I am from Casa and in Marrakesh any person who doesn’t live in Marrakesh or doesn’t look Moroccan is a tourist). Big taxi in Marrakesh is dark green with a beige stripe. Small taxi is beige. Remember to tell to the driver to turn the counter on. With the big one you have to go and ask (when you are going outside the city big taxi is the best and cheapest choice).

IFRAN:
Taxis are in juicy green color- just like the city. There is no counter. There is a fixed price for each course. For more details you have to ask the driver. As Ifran’s population are mostly rich students, the prices are quite high.

AGADIR:
Even though it’s a touristy place, drivers don’t cheat like in Marrakech. The ride in a small taxi (orange color) is expensive itself – I think the price is the same like in Casa, starts with 2 dhs and changes every 20 cents. Big taxis (collective) are white and they are cheap. For a ride from Aourir to Agadir (around 15-20 km) I paid 7dhs. Minimum price for a ride in Agadir in an orange (small) taxi is 6 dhs.

GUELMIM

In Gulmim (or Guelmim/Gouelmime – different writing, same city) every ride on a small (red) taxi is 6 dhs. There’s no counter. On Saturdays if you are going to the souk it is 12 dirhams. White (big) taxis will take you outside the city: 7 dhs to get to the oasis of Tighmert and 75 dhs to Agadir.

car taxi casablanca street traffic jam
in a taxi in Casablanca
big taxi in Guelmim car taxi casablanca street traffic jam mercedes
big taxi in Guelmim

 

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14 thoughts on “TAKING A TAXI IN MOROCCO – SURVIVAL KIT

  1. It’s so interesting to see how cab services in different cities/countries operate. If I ever find myself in Morocco, I will definitely be making use of your guide.

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