If you’ve done your research on Marrakech before visiting, you might have come across some off putting exerts from people who have had a negative experience when trying to make a taxi journey.
In this article, we will offer advice on how to make your taxi journey easy & your interaction with the drivers more positive. Of course, we hope to help make your visit completely enjoyable, and avoid those awkward misunderstandings that can happen when language and cultural differences are present!
First of all, it is really key that you let go of western concepts of time & standardisation – because part of the beauty of Morocco, is the laid back attitude towards time and planning. If you can do this for the duration of your visit, then you will absolutely learn new techniques for being calm, composed and relaxed. It will also help to make all of your interactions with locals even warmer.
There are three types of taxi that exist in Marrakech; private taxis, petit taxis & grand taxis. A private taxi is the only type of car that can be pre-booked, for example when booking your holiday you can also request that we send you a private car to transfer you from the airport to your riad. This can be particularly useful if you have a time in mind that you would like to be picked up, and saves you waiting or hailing a cab.
Petit taxis are readily available all around the city. There are taxi ranks close by to all of our riads and if you are unsure of where to find them, our riad management will be able to point you in the right direction. The petite taxis can take a maximum of 3 people per car by law, so if you have a larger party then it might be worth reserving a private car, or you will need multiple petite taxis. It is common that the taxi drivers waiting in the ranks for a fare, will try to offer the price of the journey to you. This is totally normal, because everybody is just trying to make a living – but if you don’t feel happy with the price being offered then you are within your rights to negotiate. You can also ask the driver to put on the meter which is known locally as the “counter”, some might refuse as they have already decided what they would like to be paid for the fare. It is tried and tested that the best method for taking a petit taxi, is to hail one from the roadside rather than take a waiting cab. Get into the taxi first, and then tell them your desired destination – and ask that they switch on the counter. This way, the driver will understand that you know the value of the journey and that you don’t wish to negotiate. It is a misnomer that Marrakech taxi drivers are all unkind, and if you approach them with the right attitude then you can have a friendly interaction and a good experience.
Grand taxis are a particularly strange phenomena for anybody with western ideals. These cars are old v123 Mercedes, which seem to be very reliable (enough so that they haven’t been updated for tens of years). These cars have only 5 seats, but interestingly by law the taxis can carry 6 passengers! You will often see passengers squeezed into the front and the back of the vehicle, and nobody seems bothered by being cramped up regardless of the temperatures in Marrakech. The grand taxis can travel further than the petit taxis, and so groups of locals who are travelling out of the main city towards the smaller surrounding villages might choose to share the fare of a grand taxi. If you’re a single person travelling, and you wish to make a journey to one of the aquaparcs or golf courses, then you can grab one of these grand taxis from the Jemaa el Fna. Just be aware that the driver will not take you to your destination until he has filled the seats (and more)!
You will notice that all of the grand & petit taxis in Marrakech are a yellow colour, this means that they belong to the region of Marrakech and must not pick up fares within other cities. If you visit other cities, you will find that their taxis are also colour coded. For example, Essaouria has blue taxis. If you see a large blue taxi in Marrakech, then it has likely transported a group of people from Essaouria to Marrakech, and can only take another group back to Essaouria. It is not authorised to pick up fares within Marrakech; the same rule applies to all cities.
You can download our free Marrakech Travel App to help you find the main roads around the medina, and those will be the best places to hail a cab. We look forward to welcoming you to one of our boutique riads in the near future.