Rabat Travel: Trams, Taxis, and Other Modes of Transportation

April 21, 2014

foreign-correspondent badge finalRecently I have started taking blue petit taxis more often when I need to go somewhere in Rabat; they’re faster than the tram and in my opinion, they’re not as much of a hassle. Part of living in a city, and one in a foreign country especially, is knowing how to get around that city. Now every time I get into a cab, I play a game and try to guess which turn the taxi driver will take next. At times I’m successful and feel like I’ve finally figured out the city layout. Then there are times when I think we are in one section of the city when in fact we are somewhere completely different. I am constantly discovering new ways to get to various places, and my map of Rabat that I keep tucked away in my head is improving every day.

The other interesting thing about taking a taxi more often is that it gives me the chance to observe the art of driving through the streets of Rabat without getting into an accident. As an American, the way that the taxi drivers drive can be somewhat terrifying, to say the least. If you watch closely though, they are very precise and only push the boundaries between safety and recklessness just enough to get you where you need to be that much faster without putting you in danger. One of the most common strategies I’ve seen is instead of waiting behind the car that is waiting to turn left into the intersection, the taxi will pull up on either side of it to ensure that even if the light turns, it will still get through. Another tactic is straddling the line marking a different lane (if there even is one) to ensure that when there’s inevitably a truck stopped on one side, your taxi doesn’t have to wait in line to merge over.

Overall, riding in a taxi is a great way to get a taste of Moroccan culture, from being able to have conversations with the driver and other passengers to being able to observe the things you pass and the “street etiquette.” And, as I told my mom about the taxis before she came to visit me a few weeks ago, “You’re going to think you’re going to die, but I promise you, you’re not. They know what they’re doing.”

About Virginia Cady

Virginia Cady studies international studies and Middle Eastern studies at Dickinson College. She is currently studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco.

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