The “Trabway”

Traffic in downtown Casa has been particularly congested in the last few months due to tramway construction. Drivers found some boulevards suddenly reduced from four lanes to two, and the historic Boulevard Mohammed V is almost completely blocked. Here’s what it looks like these days:

I think Casa is still in the “grumbly” phase of this major infrastructure project, because I’ve rarely seen much enthusiasm from Casaouis about the new Tramway, scheduled to be finished on 11/11/2011. One friend told me that the project is sometimes jokingly referred to as the “trabway.” “Trab” means dirt, which is all that we see so far of the tramway project.

A rep from Casa Tramway says that the company did a lot of outreach, both to take into account the public’s input and to let them know about the project once it was underway–where to park, how to drive around the blocked streets, etc–but having never heard of any of this from anyone else I’m skeptical about the efficacy of their outreach… (although a very cute animated tram popped up today on their website to give tips on avoiding roads under construction)

It’s hard to imagine how a city will look like, and feel, and function, once a project like this is completed, but here in Morocco Casablanca will not the guinea pig. Rabat, just an hour away, is very close to offering tram service to the public. Right now the system is up and running, but only on a testing basis. What a tease…

In my very unscientific poll of taxi drivers in Rabat, I’ve found that there are some mixed, but generally positive, feelings about the tramway. The construction and newly narrowed boulevards have caused some traffic headaches, I’m sure, but at least the project has taken shape. And compared to the mess that is downtown Casa right now, boy does Rabat look sleak and sexy. Check out the “zellige” (mosaic) motif on the trams.



Filed under Casablanca, Morocco, Rabat region, Transportation development, urban development, Urban Morocco

4 responses to “The “Trabway”

  1. Made in Morocco

    Trab is an inescapable thing 😉 i’m optimistic about the project though 😉 Casa has serious problems of transportation .. the aim as I see it is to encourage people in the future—including those who own cars— to use the tramway instead of cars. Maybe again this is a French idea that Morocco imported, but I guess the tramway will solve some problems and create new jobs (stations, parking, drivers …). I’m also optimistic because les travaux will be finished on 11/11/ which is my birthday .. hihi 😀

    • Kathleen

      I’m glad to see that you see thing this way! As far as the “french-imported” thing, I think we all can and should look to best practices in other countries, adapt them whenever appropriate to cultural context. There’s no “indigenous” Moroccan strategy when it comes to managing cities with millions of inhabitants–how could there be? hehe. Personally, I don’t subscribe to the reactionary arguments against development or evolution simply because it’s “imported.”

  2. Mouna

    “Trabway” is a funny word, I’d never heard it before! Thank you!

    As nearly all people who live in Casablanca, I suffered from traffic jams and the lack of public transportation, for I was living near Sidi Maarouf, and working in Mers Sultan. To solve my problem, I had the choice between buying a car and moving near my work place. Of course, I moved out. I know not everybody has the choice, and for them, I hope the “Trabway” will be a great change.

    Not sure I could have waited for the grand opening of this new infrastructure… Not sure the schedule will be respected neither!

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