Traveling by Bus in Morocco
There are several ways to travel efficiently and affordably when visiting different cities in Morocco. However, not all modes of transportation can get you everywhere you need to go. The exception to this is any one of the three national bus companies that operate between major towns and cities as well as having drop off points at the outskirts of some smaller towns. These buses can get you to places like Agadir and Essaouira where the train lines don’t go, and when hiring a grand taxi would eat up a large portion of your travel budget.
As with any travel options, utilizing buses as your mode of transportation has its pros and cons, and every traveler has an opinion based on their own experiences. Traveling by bus, even along routes where the train is available can be up to half the price of a train ticket making it much more affordable. If you like a little bit more adventure and getting to know local people, the buses are great for that. The bus routes are often more scenic and travel along winding roads providing excellent views of smaller villages and the varying landscapes of the country.
Some of the buses currently being operated are very old and uncomfortable. Air conditioning is hit or miss as well. In the case of not, it can get stifling hot with very limited ways for getting air, not to mention Moroccans are used to the heat so they usually don’t consider it hot enough to open the windows. Buses will often wait until they are full before departing the station which means you can never really count on what time you will begin the trip, even if you buy a ticket for a particular time. Some buses have built in televisions, but the volume is often too loud for a relaxation.
There are three major bus companies operating in Morocco, two of which are private and the other is state-run. The companies are Supratours, CTM and SATAS. Let’s take a quick review of each one of them separately to compare and contrast the benefits and challenges of each.
: Supratours buses are an excellent choice if you are traveling to a destination where a train takes you only a portion of the way. That is because Supratours buses are run by ONCF, the same company as the rail system. Thus, they have already anticipated the traveler’s final destination and their bus routes leave from the train stations.
: CTM has recently computerized their reservation system allowing you to book tickets to anywhere in Morocco at any of their CTM offices in advance. While CTM buses are a bit newer and more comfortable, many travelers find their operating schedule less convenient. You can leave your luggage at bus station, and come back to retrieve it later because only CTM provides luggage receipts.
SATAS: This bus company doesn’t have the best reputation with travelers among the major three operators, but it does go to some of the more remote places in the south of Morocco, namely the dessert regions like Zagoura while the other companies don’t venture there. It also offers similar services in between some of the smaller villages as well.
Each major city has a bus depot, called a “gare routiere” bus station, where you purchase tickets and depart for your destination. You’ll have a few options for selecting a clean, comfortable bus, but the operators will all be vying for your business. You’ll most likely find a small newsstand and place to get some light refreshments as well as a restroom at each of the stations. Some times you’ll have a choice between buses and Morocco trains
, but when you don’t the buses are worth a fair chance for seeing some of the greatest sights Morocco has to offer.
If you are planning to travel buy bus during major Moroccan holidays
and during summer peak season (July-August), buy your tickets in advance to insure seats availability due to increase travel by Moroccan and their families during holidays.
All major cities in Morocco are served by local buses that connect area residents with different part of the city. Small local taxis are not that expensive, but buses are usually cheaper, if you don’t mind several stops along route. You can ride buses to your point of destination, local bus fares are usually 3-5 Dirhams depending on the city. However, Local buses are usually crowded during rush hours since it is the transportation of choice for most residents.
Morocco buses fare rates for major Moroccan cities - CTM
Agadir – Ouarzazate 130 DH
Casablanca-Agadir 190 DH
Casablanca-Marrakesh 80 DH
Casablanca-Essaouira 130 DH
Casablanca-Tangier 130 DH
Fes-Agadir 245 DH
Fes-Marrakesh 150 DH
Fes-Tangier 110 DH
Fes-Rabat 70 DH
Marrakesh-Agadir 90 DH
Marrakesh-Ouarzazate 80 DH
Marrakesh-Zagora 130 DH
Marrakesh Local Bus
Marrakesh Small Taxi
Morocco by Train