Taxing is said to be the high-risk sport tourists most popularly practise in Marrakech. Even if you are a person who is cautious, you should know that it is impossible to avoid venturing into Marrakech’s traffic, because buses and citizen who drive their own private cars are equally reckless. So you have to choose, either to go on foot through the hot streets of Marrakech or to stay in your hotel leafing through a magazine.
In any case, taxis are a part of the city that, in my opinion, no one truly interested in known the true spirit of Marrakech should miss. Their world is a kind of parallel universe; they are mobile spaces in which, when you enter, you cannot help asking yourself: « Will I get out? »; where, when suffering the impact produced after the brakes are slammed, you think: « Will I die? »; where, with every second marked on our watches, we wonder « Will I get to visit the Koutoubia? »
There are two types of taxis in Marrakech, namely « grand » or large taxis, and « petit » or small taxis. « Grand » taxis are usually old Mercedes with permission (but not necessarily with capacity) to carry up to 6 or 7 people. They have no taximeter, so you need to negotiate the price of the ride before entering, and this is why many people do not recommend their use, since taxis drivers in the Ochre City have a reputation for being tourist-swindlers. Probably the best option is to take what are called « petit » taxis, usually Seat Panda, Fiat Punto or Peugeot 205, which can carry 3 people; and they do have taximeters. Meter starts at 1,6 dirhams (0,15 € approx.) and at 2,40 Dh. (0,25 € approx.) during the night.Minimum fare is 6 dirhams (0,60 €). With these prices, it is hard not to ask oneself if it is not the tourists who swindle the Moroccan taxi drivers, even if the law is on their side.
From the airport to the city centre fares are different: 50 dirhams per person. From the city centre to the airport, however, you can ask for the taximeter.
Do not hesitate to ask the driver to stop the vehicle if he refuses to start the taximeter once you are on the move, and do not get surprised during the journey if the driver stops several times to buy cigarettes, pick up something from his place, fill the tank with petrol or simply start chatting with a colleague. Remember that this is Morocco: if you are not a millionaire you must share everything, taxis included. It is also perfectly normal to stop along the way to pick up another user and, thus, a fellow traveller.
It is cheaper to stop taxis in the street tan to take them at a taxi rank or stand, especially if these are located near tourist sites, where taxi drivers can refuse to put the meter on and can ask you an amount three times higher than that of a regular journey. Whenever you want to stop a taxi, raise your arm and point with your index finger towards the direction you want to go to, so that the driver will know if it is the same direction where the users he is carrying are heading to.
Once you are inside the taxi, breathe deeply, enjoy the adventure and remember that things such as working seat belts, windows that open or the possibility of installing a baby car seat are rather impossible utopias in Marrakech.
So, come to Marrakech and enjoy its food and entertainment, its history and historical sites, beautiful gardens and museums, the great Marrakech hotels and, most of all, its warm and hospitable people and its laid back, stress-free way of life, including that offered by its « adventurous » driving. Stay in one of the countless typical Marrakech riads or in a villa in Marrakech, where you will enjoy the charm and elegance of this city in an absolutely incomparable decor and where you will get whichever alternative transport you may need. Enjoy the ride!
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