If you’re coming for a short trip to the capital of Morocco you’ll want to know about the taxis in Rabat. If you’re going to Hassan Tower of the Museum of Contemporary art, its the fastest way to get around. In this post I will only be talking about petits taxis for journeys within the city of Rabat.
How to spot taxis in Rabat
There are two types of taxis in Rabat: “un petit taxi” (a small taxi) and “un grand taxi” (a big taxi). Every city in Morocco will have petit taxis and grand taxis however, they look different from city to city and the taxis can work slightly differently depending where you are. In Rabat the petit taxis are blue and the grand taxis are beige old Mercedes. The blue petit taxis operate inside the city and the beige grands taxis can go from city to city.
The little blue taxis are one of my favourite things here in Rabat. They’re everywhere and can take you pretty much everywhere in Rabat for no more than the equivalent of a couple of euros. The most expensive petit taxi that I’ve taken here was 40 dirham which is just 4 euro! You should make sure you always have coins and small notes if taking a petit taxi- they don’t always have change for larger denominations! Taking a taxi in a new country can be intimidating but fear not, I will explain the rules of the road and taxi etiquette here in Rabat.
The strangest thing about taking taxis here in Rabat is the fact that they can stop and take extra passengers! It can be a shock when you hail your first taxi only to have it pull over and another person to hop in! Each person/group pays their own fare- you won’t get a discount for a stranger hopping in halfway to your destination. You might be heading to the Bab el Had at the old medina and halfway someone waves down and their going to the medina surf school, you’ll both pay separate fares. This is just a heads up before we dive into it!
How to take a petit taxi
If you want a taxi you should wave them down like you normally would. However if you know the direction you want to go, you should point to it. This means if the taxi already has a passenger who is going in a different direction it won’t have to stop saving you and them some time.
Once you do get a taxi to stop just say a quick hello/bonjour/bonsoir/salam and the name of the place you want to go, if its an empty taxi there will be no problem and you can hop in and enjoy the journey.
If you can chat in French/Arabic/Darija go for it! Like taxis in most countries the conversation tends to be traffic/weather/what you’re doing but can be a great way to practice speaking! Locals love to hear you make an effort with languages here, especially in Rabat where there aren’t so many tourists.
You pay at the end of your trip don’t forget to say thank you/merci/shokran! As I mentioned above make sure you have smaller denominations of dirham to pay as they won’t always have change!
Tips and advice
Unfortunately a lot of guide books tell stories of tourists being overcharged for things here in Morocco and it helps if you at least pretend to know where you’re going. In cities with more tourism such as Marrakech outside attractions can be a prime spot to be overcharged for a taxi. In Rabat I haven’t experienced this and I’ve been here almost two month. The taxis in Rabat all use a meter so you can see how much you’re being charged. The best advice I can give you is not to take a taxi unless the meter works but in Rabat for the most part being overcharged is a rare occurrence.
There also is a late charge, where taxis are a bit more expensive after 8:00 PM.
There is a fee for baggage if you’re bringing larger items/suitcases. There’s no charge for a personal bag, handbag or backpack.
The driving in Rabat may shock you especially coming from Western Europe and the US. When you see the driving you might want to reach for your seat-belt only to find there are none in the back of the taxi. There’s not much you can do about this, only sit in the front and use the belt there. Taxi drivers are the most experienced drivers here in Rabat and you have to put your faith in them!
You’ll also notice the incessant beeping which bothered me for weeks until I noticed its the way taxis offer a lift here in Rabat and not just beeping for the fun of it! So if you hear a beep it’s just a taxi asking if you need to go somewhere!
Until next time!
-The Student Explorer