As Morocco’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, Casablanca has a wider range of public transportation choices than historic cities like Marrakesh and Fez. Getting around is relatively easy, with the most popular options being the Casa Tramway and private taxis known as petit taxis. Methods of transportation that rely on the city’s road network are likely to be affected by traffic, however, especially during the morning and evening rush hour when downtown Casablanca is often gridlocked. In this article, we take a look at the best public transport options for every traveler, whether your priority is speed, cost, or independence.
How to Ride the Casa Tramway
Since its inauguration in 2012, the Casa Tramway has become the most modern and efficient method of public transportation in Casablanca. The 29-mile (47-kilometer) network includes more than 70 stations and the trams themselves are considered clean, safe, and comfortable.
Fares: A single journey costs 6 dirhams.
Types of Passes: There are three different types of tickets or cards that are suitable for tourists. The one that’s right for you depends on how long you plan on spending in Casablanca, and how frequently you will be using the tramway.
- Prepaid cards are probably the most popular option for visitors. They cost 15 dirhams to purchase, and then 6 dirhams for every trip thereafter. You can load credit as you go, which is valid for use across the entire tram network.
- Subscription cards make sense for visitors spending at least a week in Casablanca and who will use the tramway 10 times or more. This card also costs 15 dirhams to purchase. Then, you can load a weekly subscription (for 60 dirhams) or a monthly subscription (for 230 dirhams). For the duration of your chosen subscription, you can travel freely throughout the tram network as often as you like.
- Reloadable tickets are suitable for visitors that only plan on using the tram once or twice. The ticket itself is disposable and costs just 2 dirhams. Each journey thereafter costs 6 dirhams, and you can use the ticket twice before throwing it away.
How to Pay: Tickets, cards, and pay-as-you-go credit can all be purchased from vending machines at the tramway stations.
Travel Routes: Casa Tramway currently has two lines, although plans are underway to add three more routes by 2022. The existing lines provide pretty extensive coverage of the city center and the eastern and western suburbs, although some key tourist areas (including the Old Medina and Hassan II Mosque) are not directly connected.
- Line T1, or the orange line, travels between Lissasfa Terminus in the southwest of the city and Sidi Moumen Terminus in the northeast.
- Line T2, or the yellow line, travels between Sidi Bernoussi Terminus in the northeast of the city and Ain Diab Plage Terminus on the oceanfront Corniche.
Hours of Operation: Trams depart from each station every 15 minutes during hours of operation. Weekday operating hours for each terminus are listed below (times may vary slightly on weekends or public holidays).
- Sidi Moumen Terminus: The first departure leaves at 5:45 a.m.; the last departure leaves at 7:45 p.m.
- Lissasfa Terminus: The first departure leaves at 6:15 a.m.; the last departure leaves at 8:10 p.m.
- Sidi Bernoussi Terminus: The first departure leaves at 5:45 a.m.; the last departure leaves at 7:05 p.m.
- Ain Diab Plage Terminus: The first departure leaves at 6:45 a.m.; the last departure leaves at 8 p.m.
Accessibility: Wheelchair access varies between stations.
Need to Know: In terms of price versus efficiency, Casa Tramway is our top pick for getting around in Casablanca. There are exceptions: if you’re in a hurry, petit taxis are faster outside of rush hour. Petit taxis also operate at night, whereas the tramway is typically closed by 8 p.m. If you wish to travel to areas of the city that aren’t covered by the tram lines, you’ll need to choose one of the following alternative methods of transportation.
For more information about schedules and prices, visit the Casa Tramway website.
Riding the Bus in Casablanca
Casablanca’s bus network is considerably busier and more chaotic than the tramway. However, it is the most inexpensive alternative if you need to travel to areas that aren’t covered by lines T1 or T2. Buses typically operate from around 5:45 a.m. to 9:15 p.m., and tickets for single journeys cost 4 dirhams. Bring small change and purchase them onboard. Buses let passengers on and off at designated stops along the way. Signage is in Arabic, however, so you’ll need to ask the driver (if he speaks English) to let you know when to get off. For this reason, petit taxis are often an easier alternative to the tram for tourists, unless you’re traveling on a shoestring.
Taxis in Casablanca
There are two types of taxis in Casablanca (and in Morocco in general). The first is the red petit taxis, which are much like the private taxis most Americans and Europeans are familiar with. These can be picked up at designated taxi ranks or hailed on main thoroughfares, and are relatively inexpensive with short trips costing around 15 dirhams. Unlike the tram and bus networks, petit taxis operate 24 hours a day. However, a 50 percent surcharge applies to all rides after 8 p.m. Be sure to agree on a price before accepting a ride (and don’t forget to negotiate). The second type of taxi is the grand taxi, a white mini-bus that offers shared rides for up to six passengers. Grand taxis follow regular routes and can be a cheap choice for day trips outside the city as well.
Car Rentals in Casablanca
Driving in Casablanca is not for the faint-of-heart, since many residents have a scant disregard for road rules. Traffic can be hectic, too, especially during the morning and afternoon rush hour. Nevertheless, renting a car can be a good option for those that want to spend a lot of time exploring the surrounding area as well, or who want to have complete freedom of movement within the city. There are many different rental companies to choose from in Casablanca, with the most reliable being the international operators based at Mohammed V International Airport. These include Avis, Hertz, and Europcar. Generally, you need to be at least 21 to rent a car and may have to pay a surcharge if you’re under 25. You’ll need a valid driver’s license and a credit card in the driver’s name.
Getting To and From the Airport
If you’re not picking up a car, the easiest way to get from Mohammed V International Airport to downtown Casablanca is to take the train operated by national railroad company, ONCF. The station is located beneath the ground floor of the Terminal 1 arrivals area. You can get off at Mers Sultan, Casa Port, Casa Voyageurs, and L’Oasis, with Casa Voyageurs being the stop for connections to other Moroccan cities and Casa Port being the most central to downtown Casablanca. The journey to Casa Port takes approximately 45 minutes and costs 42 dirhams for a second class ticket.
Trains run every hour from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., so if your flight arrives or departs outside these times you’ll need to take a petit taxi instead. Taxis depart from outside the arrivals area and are available around the clock; journeys take around 45 minutes and cost between 250 and 300 dirhams.