Getting from city to city in Morocco can be a long and expensive affair. The flights are expensive and infrequent, the trains are slow and often late, and the buses are not always up to expected safety standards. The result is that for many Moroccans, getting from A-B involves taking a grand taxi. Grand taxis are normally old, beige Mercedes and are capable of carrying up to 6 passengers at a time. They carry 4 passengers in the back, and 2 in the front (next to the driver). Yes, really. 7 people crammed into that small space! They don’t have air-conditioning either, so on a hot summer’s day you must really remember to take plenty of water. But it’s the most common way of getting around for normal Moroccans, so it is a good opportunity for a true Moroccan experience.
Grand taxis can be easily found in major cities. As with petit taxis, there are often conveniently-located ranks around the city where you can found an abundance of grand taxis waiting to take you wherever you need to go. Grand taxis are permitted to travel outside of the city limits, whereas petit taxis are not, so if you’re looking to travel for longer distances, make sure you get in a grand taxi.
When taking a grand taxi in Morocco, Moroccans almost always share with others. It is quite expensive for a local to rent out the entire vehicle, so the cost is often shared between others. In fact, you only end up paying for your seat. So, if you want to travel privately with no other passengers, you will have to buy the 6 other seats. You can find out more about the costs of taking a grand taxi by using our grand taxi fare calculator.
Driving conditions in Morocco do not match those in Europe or the US. Standards are much lower, and the sad truth is that many people die on the roads in Morocco each year. Grand taxis do not have seat belts, and the drivers are often poorly-trained, so you must be assertive if you think your driver is going too fast. He is very unlikely to speak English, so you’ll have to tell him in Arabic (or possibly French). Moroccans have a tendency to overtake cars on corners, or on hills, so you might be in for an experience if it is your first time on the roads in Africa. This is a warning, but should not act as a deterrent, since the reality is that you are unlikely to be involved in any accidents if you remain sensible and communicate with your driver if he is going too fast. If you are travelling with children, then maybe you should look into private transport in Morocco.
Do not expect your driver to know where your address is, even if you have it in Arabic. Roads are seldom signposted in Morocco. If your destination is in a medina, then you will have to walk the last leg, because taking a grand taxi into the narrow streets is forbidden and often impossible.
Finally, some grand taxis only drive on certain routes. If it is late at night, or a holiday, you might have to stop en route to change taxi. You may also be forced to share your vehicle with other people if availability is limited, since it is a bit unfair for one or two people to take up an entire car when locals do not have another option.