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the taxis, they are shared

25 February, 2011

sign at the taxi stand outside of Errachidia's souk

The practice of sharing taxis is something that I really dig about life in Morocco.

In the States, you can share taxis with strangers, but its not the usual practice.  Here in Morocco, on the other hand, most petite taxi drivers will pick up other passengers, provided there are available seats – petite taxis hold three passengers and one driver.

petite taxi stand in downtown Errachidia

Grand taxis also pick up passengers along the way when there is room in the car.  These four door, old model Mercedes hold four people in the back seat, and two passengers up front, in addition to the driver.

I often take a petite taxi from the downtown area to my school, for between 5-10 dirhams (the more bodies in the car, the less you pay) and take a grand taxi back downtown, paying 2-3 dirhams for the routine ride, unless of course a student is in the same taxi and insists on paying my fare.  I’ve had students insist on paying a number of times which is really sweet, but totally unnecessary.

When taking a grand taxi, you can also buy up extra seats if you want more room/comfort or if you are in a hurry to get going.  With the exception of regular in-town routes, grand taxis do not leave until all the seats are paid for.  For females traveling alone and not wanting to chance a feel being copped, buying out the two front seats is another option.

grand taxi station in Errachidia

I’ve found that taxis more so than buses are good ways to have conversation with strangers, and many a ride has been made more interesting this way.

Another thing I love about the taxis here are the awesome decked-out interiors.  Many of the taxis, especially grand taxis, have amazing headliners with images of kittens, flowers or leopard print fabric.  An assortment of pillows and sometimes stuffed animals often grace the rear window ledge, and no taxi (or vehicle of any kind, really) would be road-ready without the requisite box of tissue on the dashboard.

an example of the awesome styling on the inside of grand taxis

Back in Chicago, I rarely took taxis, but here, they are a welcome part of life.

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