Ten observations about taxis (and driving in general)

When I started this post it was Friday, but the afternoon got a little crazy and now here we are on Saturday morning…. so why not have a little fun right? So ten things about taxis and driving in general here in Casablanca. 

  1. There are two sizes of taxi, petit (tiny red cars) and grand (larger white cars and vans). The petit ones are less expensive than the grand ones, but they will only take a maximum of three people. 
  2. Always make sure they start the meter when you get in. If they don’t start it right away ask how much the ride will cost immediately. Once you ask one of the following things will happen; they will start the meter (yay! That’s what you wanted), you will negotiate a mutually agreeable rate, or neither of those things will happen and you will get out and try another taxi. 
  3. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been the only occupant in a taxi. If the taxi is not full they will pick up other people going in the same general direction along the way. This works both ways, they will also pick you up along the way if you are going the same direction as the passengers already in the taxi. All the taxis can run multiple meters at a time so still make sure they start you one!
  4. When flagging down a taxi watch for hand signals. Especially if the taxi already has a passenger the driver will usually signal the general direction they are heading and you either signal back that you are also wanting that direction or say no that’s not the way I want to. This saves the driver from pulling out of traffic and you from being refused. 
  5. Be prepared to be refused. If you aren’t going where they are already going or if you want to go somewhere off the beaten path they might just say no. Eventually someone will pick you up and if not you can always call an Uber. 
  6. Uber is only semi legal, and Uber drivers are universally hated by taxi drivers. An Uber driver will not pick you up in an area that is frequented by taxis. They will also take forever to get to you as they try to avoid picking you up in a way that will attract the attention of a taxi driver. The Uber drivers concerns are real. Taxi drivers will beat them up and call the police on them (hint the police are in on it with the taxi drivers).
  7. There is no such thing as traffic lanes so don’t expect anyone to follow them…. especially not a taxi driver. If the car will physically fit in the space (no matter how tight) they will go in it. This can be a little sketchy at first but I just try and sit back and enjoy the ride. 
  8. When telling a taxi driver where you want to go give a landmark or major street name rather than an address. Street names on smaller streets are constantly in flux as they replace the French names with Arabic ones. Also actual street addresses are often not known, we had been here over a month before we knew what our actual street address was. When talking a taxi home we give the name of the bakery on the corner and the name of our general neighborhood. 
  9. Ok getting back to rules of the road… there is no such thing as a left turn lane. General practice is to hang in the middle of the road (as many cars wide as will fit) until there is a break in cross traffic or enough cars emass in the middle that they outweigh the cross traffic. 
  10. Honking is a means of communicating many things. Coming from the very polite PNW this felt a little harsh and bossy to me in the beginning but actually kinda makes sense when you think about it. Or maybe I’m just adjusting?…. They will honk if they think you are going to pull out in front of them, if the traffic in front of them isn’t moving, if someone won’t let them into traffic, and anything else you can think of. 

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