Public Transport And Driving In Morocco

Public Transport And Driving In Morocco



Although Morocco seems a​ world away from our home countries, it​ is​ able to​ offer comparable travel options, largely due to​ the influence of​ former French rule.

Railways

The new train​ station​ at​ Tangier was built by the French and, true to​ French repute, it​ is​ remarkably efficient, perhaps even better than back home!

Trains in​ Morocco are very comfortable and​ fairly inexpensive. The state owned network, ONCF, connects a​ limited network of​ routes, but for​ travel between major cities they are an​ excellent option. Trains are reliable, comfortable, fast, and​ efficient.

Reservations for​ tickets can only be made for​ first class journeys.

Supratours: is​ a​ bus company owned by the rail network, to​ cover the areas east of​ the Atlas mountains and​ south of​ Marrakech, which are not yet served by the train​ network. Buses connect smoothly to​ intercity trains. Tickets for​ combined train​ and​ bus journeys are sold in​ one package, known as​ "Rail & Route".

All train​ stations have clear signs and​ displays in​ Arabic and​ French to​ help you​ find your​ way around. Platform displays also indicate expected delays.
Larger stations are well served by other forms of​ public transport, such as​ local buses and​ city cabs.

Train​ etiquette: Moroccans are very sociable and​ courteous when they travel and​ it's easy to​ strike up a​ conversation. You’ll find your​ fellow train​ passengers are happy to​ share food and​ sweets.

Smoking is​ not allowed on​ Moroccan trains, though many people smoke in​ the corridor of​ the train​ car. on​ cars that do not have a​ corridor, it's considered rude to​ smoke.

Safety: Moroccan trains and​ railway stations are reasonably safe. However, like everywhere in​ the world they are a​ magnet for​ petty criminals. So be vigilant, use your​ common​ sense remember:

- Do not leave your​ luggage unattended in​ stations or​ on​ trains

- Keep your​ tickets, passport, money and​ credit cards in​ a​ safe place away from the rest of​ your​ luggage

- Be extra careful with your​ bags when boarding and​ leaving a​ train​ amongst a​ crowd of​ people

- Do not sit or​ sleep alone in​ a​ compartment,
Some travellers have reported problems with touts, particularly on​ trains to​ and​ from Fez. if​ you​ have trouble, the railway staff will assist you. Police are helpful and​ present at​ most train​ stations.

Air

Flight connections to​ Morocco are very good and​ transfers to​ the rest of​ the country are equally efficient.

Airports are being upgraded and​ new ones built, eg. at​ Tangier. an​ ‘Open skies agreement’ was recently signed ahead of​ the 2018 schedule and​ Monarch, Ryan Air and​ Easy Jet have all been rumoured to​ have signed up to​ Tangier and​ Tetouan airports.

Deals Available:

GB Airways, part of​ BA, have just announced that it​ will fly to​ Tangier shortly for​ 169 pounds return. Thompson​ also announce they will fly to​ Agadir for​ only 29 pounds each way and​ Atlas Blue flies to​ Morocco for​ 60 pounds return.

These deals will begin​ accelerating in​ 2018, as​ Morocco is​ still an​ untested market for​ the budget airlines, yet less than 3 hours from the UK. it​ will also put pressure on​ the flag carrier, Royal Air Maroc, to​ follow suit and​ it​ has recently committed to​ increasing its fleet by 50 per cent in​ 2018.

Tetouan, about 1 hour’s drive west of​ Tangiers, has an​ international airport that is​ little used, but the large hotel groups, Club Med, Sofitel, Accor in​ the area have been lobbying the governor to​ open it​ up more regularly as​ it​ is​ currently being used for​ internal flights only.

Casablanca airport serves as​ the nerve knot for​ domestic flights, with Royal Air Maroc (RAM) as​ its carrier. Local flights are expensive, but save a​ lot of​ time.

Bus

Buses are usually the cheapest form of​ transport and​ they do regular routes to​ almost anywhere in​ Morocco. They are also a​ safer and​ more comfortable option, rather than taxis.

Morocco's intercity bus transport is​ privately run. There are many companies with widely varying degrees of​ size, comfort, punctuality, safety and​ service. Most companies only operate routes in​ a​ particular region.

The three main​ bus companies in​ Morocco are:

- CTM - Formerly state-owned, but now a​ private company listed on​ the Casablanca stock exchange. it​ is​ the only bus operator that covers the whole country.

- SATAS - Agadir-based company. Operates mainly south of​ its home town, but also between Casablanca, Marrakech and​ Agadir.

- Supratours - Owned by the railway company ONCF. Routes supplement the train​ network to​ destinations south of​ Marrakech and​ to​ the northern cities of​ Tetouan and​ Nador. Tickets must be bought at​ a​ railway station.

Whenever you​ have the choice, you​ would be advised to​ us one of​ these three companies. Other operators may be slightly cheaper, but they can't beat the big three in​ comfort and​ maintenance of​ their fleet.

Tickets are sold at​ bus terminals and​ you​ can get them until moments before the bus leaves. It's recommended to​ get tickets a​ few hours in​ advance to​ be sure the bus isn't fully booked.

if​ you're boarding a​ bus somewhere along its route, get your​ tickets at​ least a​ day in​ advance.
As soon​ as​ you​ set foot in​ a​ bus terminal, you​ will be surrounded by "courtiers" (French for​ "brokers"). These men know the bus routes and​ timetables by heart and​ can be extremely useful. for​ a​ small tip, you​ can name your​ destination​ and​ they will take you​ to​ the ticket window of​ the company that runs the next bus there.

Shared Taxi

Shared Taxis are one of​ the best features of​ Moroccan transport. They are usually big Mercedes Benz cars carrying a​ maximum of​ 6 passengers.
Shared taxis operate on​ a​ wide variety of​ routes and​ are much quicker than the public buses. Fares are very reasonable. you​ can also flag down a​ taxi anywhere along the road. if​ there's space, the driver will stop and​ pick you​ up but when it's full, he driver will wave at​ you​ apologetically.

Note: Taxis only run between towns of​ the same region, eg. you​ can’t get a​ shared taxi from Tangier to​ Casablanca. on​ long distances, you​ will have to​ change taxis or​ hire the entire car.

A word of​ advice: Grand​ taxis (those for​ travel between cities) do not have a​ meter. Instead, prices between each town are fixed. All taxi drivers must have a​ "bulletin" that states the fares in​ their region. Many do not display this​ sheet as​ required, so make sure you​ ask for​ it.

you​ could also ask around among fellow passengers waiting for​ a​ taxi. People will readily tell you​ how much to​ pay. Make sure to​ settle the price with the driver before the taxi leaves - and​ do emphasize you're talking dirhams, not dollars!

Car

Car is​ a​ very popular way to​ get around the country and​ the road system is​ fairly well developed, with improvements to​ major highways currently high on​ the government’s agenda.

Moroccan drivers drive with apparently far less caution​ than most of​ us do back home! Particularly in​ town, they speed and​ weave from one space to​ another in​ a​ strangely organized frenzy, but crashes are rare. if​ you​ are of​ an​ adventurous disposition, you​ will embrace this​ great experience.

Be aware that:

- The speed limit in​ town is​ 50km/hour and​ on​ the highways outside town it​ is​ 100km/hour.

- Wearing seatbelts is​ obligatory for​ drivers and​ passengers, although this​ is​ often not practiced.

- it​ is​ illegal to​ drive at​ night without lights. However, at​ below 20 km/hr vehicles are permitted to​ drive without lights. you​ will have to​ keep your​ wits about you​ as​ there are also many cyclists without lights as​ well as​ animals and​ hikers out on​ the roads at​ night.

- Petrol prices in​ Morocco are relatively high.

Car Hire

The bigger cities in​ Morocco have large car rental agencies, as​ do all the airports.

in​ general driving is​ very straightforward and​ since not many locals have access to​ vehicles, or​ have the need to​ drive long distances, the roads are usually clear and​ easy to​ navigate. you​ should enjoy exploring the country at​ your​ own pace.

in​ order to​ hire a​ car, you​ will need:

- International driver’s license in​ order to​ hire a​ car.

- your​ own motor insurance

Motorbikes

Motorbikes in​ Morocco are increasingly popular as​ a​ means to​ visit many far flung and​ sought after places. you​ should be careful about your​ safety at​ night and​ you​ are advised to​ take a​ good tool kit and​ puncture repair kit




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