Location: Marrakech, Morocco
An adventure searching for the perfect derelict Riad, through the constuction itself, to the end result (insha'Allah!)

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A tale of the Moroccan Taxi

There are many tales by tourists of their Moroccan taxi experiences.  In Marrakech, there are two types of taxi: the petit taxi (above) which can be flagged down anywhere is small enough to only carry 3 people; and the grand taxi which is more expensive, usually a very old Mercedes, probably left over from colonial times and held together with string.  Every taxi I've been in has a meter, but I've never seen one working.  Drivers prefer not to use them and unless you agree the price before entering the cab, will make up a price at the end of the journey, probably based upon how rich they think the passenger is.  I have heard of a 3 tier pricing system depending upon where the passengers are from: e.g. Moroccan (low price), French (medium) and anyone else (high)!  The American travel writer, Paul Bowles sums up the mentality of the Moroccan taxi driver in an article he wrote about Casablanca for a newspaper in 1966.
One day he attempted to get one of the drivers to set the meter going.  As he got into the cab he said "How does it happen that you taxi chauffeurs never turn on your meters?"
"The meters don't work" the driver said.
"You mean all the meters are broken?"
"They don't work fast enough!"


  1. Thanks that made me laugh this morning! You'll have to test out the French theory!

  2. nice from Bowles. but there is another way. never mention the price. never go into a taxi if the driver begins with discussing the price. find another and just set yourself in. tell him where to go. then he thinks you know the cost of the ride, and either he will put on the meter or you give him between ten and twenty. If he wants to discuss you point at the meter and smile. (but just make sure you pay a bit more than the ride costs. they often rent the taxi quite expensive from owners and do not earn a lot.)

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