Friday, July 5, 2013

Morocco Journal - Part 9: Transportation in Morocco - the buses

I promised some while ago that I'll talk about how the bus system works works in Morocco--and what a typical bus-ride consists of. Well, here I go.
The first few weeks, I used a bus daily, but I've lately started taking the taxi. A taxi ride from home to the center is about 10 dirham, which is a little more than a U.S. dollar. Buses are 3 dirhams (or 3.5 on the bigger ones) per person no matter where you go, which is less than half a U.S. dollar.  There are two types of taxis here: the small taxis and the large ones. The small ones can carry 3 passengers max very comfortably, the larger ones 6 max (2 people sit in the passenger's seat)--very uncomfortably. It's not uncommon for taxi drivers, if you're a female sitting in the front seat, to deliberately touch you inappropriately as much as they'd like making it seem like an accident because cars here are manual, not automatic.

A bus ride is typically quite adventurous: the driver doesn't always close the doors, people can stand right in the doorway all they want, a passenger may freely sit (close to) in front of the driver by the dashboard (is that what that area is called?), there doesn't seem to be a limit of how many passengers can ride, making it a painful experience to have to leave a crowded bus. There's no room on the bus usually, except during certain times (like before 8:15am), and you stand up and you've to touch those cords that are full of everyone's germs... and the seats are usually torn and stuff, so you sit on one and you fall into the ground. And there are holes on the bus, so.
There are positive things about it, of course, including the fact that the buses are almost always on time (I think a new one comes every 15 mins or so) and the bus system is very organized. That they're very cheap (I feel like it's cheap for Moroccans generally, too, but I'm possibly wrong) is another good thing about them. Lemme talk a little more about my observations and then show you the pics.

Then again ... this is a common scene in Pakistan's buses.
- I grew up to the idea that they younguns should give up their seat for elders, especially on transportation. I also grew up to the idea that men should give up their seat for women, but I don't support this idea--it's miserably loaded with too many assumptions and expectations about women and their public decorum and honor issues present. So a no-no to the men giving up seats for women but a yes-yes (always and forever) to youths giving up seats for elders.

On buses here in Morocco, of the 20+ days that I've been riding buses here twice a day, only once have I seen younguns giving up seats for elders. My roommie, who, remember, is a white American woman, has given up hers several time, and the reaction from fellow Moroccan riders on the bus have been ... interesting. You'd think they don't expect Americans at all to do something as honorable and so when they do, it's an OMG moment for them. Forget elders/younguns: someone might get on the bus with a ton of things with her, including a child or two, and no one will bother to offer their seat to her. THIS is one of those rare times (others being disability) when I not only approve of but urge that we give up our seats to women. Men, too, with disabilities, children, shopping bags, etc. should get priority on the bus. In the U.S., while I don't know how public transportation works all across the country, the way it works in my city of residence is that the front seats are reserved for passengers with disabilities and seniors (people over the age of 60). A huge yes to this.

- In Pakistan, we have something we call in Pashto neem-kwaney sozakey (literally: half-assed suzuki, but the suzuki refers to a specific kind of automobile). It looks like this--only, what you see below is much prettier than the typical neem kwaney sozakey.

Half-assed suzuki
 This is a pic I took in Swat (not very clear, but you get the point):

Now the ones I see in Morocco similar to those:

I know, I know - it's not that great. Another one soon, maybe.
Then, like in Pakistan, there are rakshas - or something that I am going to call a rksha anyway. The Pakistani ones:

And the Moroccan one (didn't get a good pic 'cause was from a moving car):

For the record, Morocco also has what we call in Pashto dabey that are like cars but more round. Trying to find a photo online (none with me in camera yet) but no luck so far.

Then there is the fact that, despite how narrow the streets might get, cars will still try to fit themselves in them. Like this. (Also commonly done in the Pakistan.)


Other times, the streets are not so narrow but still, we see this:

This is what some (not all!) side-walks look like (P.S. it does get wider, but):

And tee hee.

Some of the buses I take back and forth to the center have cracked windshields, like this:

So yeah.

I believe that's all for now, folks. See you all soon again - coming up is (I want to say) the foooodddzzz.
Previous Morocco Journals:


  1. these are the city buses... you gotta go on a coach.. now THEN u have an adventure !!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Karen!
      Really?! Haven't tried a coach yet. What are those used for, traveling outside the city? Would I use that if I'm going to Fez from Meknes? 'Cause I'm thinking to use the train.


Dare to opine :)

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