Casablanca’s new bus fleet will become operational by the end of February at the latest, promised Said Rafik, the president of the city’s Inter-Municipal Cooperation Establishment (ECI).
“We are working on launching our new buses by the end of February or even earlier,” Rafik told Morocco’s state media.
The new bus fleet in Casablanca will include 400 new buses and will reach 700 buses in the long term, the Moroccan official declared without specifying when the bus fleet will reach its full size.
Casablanca will also expand its bus network from 47 lines to 57, Rafik explained. The new bus lines will allow the network to cover the 18 municipalities of the Casablanca region.
The upgrade of Casablanca’s bus fleet comes after the city’s inhabitants expressed dissatisfaction with the services provided by M’dina Bus, the company that managed buses in Casablanca from 2004 to 2019.
Rebranded into “Alsa Al Baida,” the company has been operating buses in the city for over a year. However, it operates a fleet of used buses, taken over from M’dina Bus or imported from Europe, pending the manufacture of its new fleet.
Alsa pledged to restructure bus transportation in Casablanca and offer upgraded services to the public.
Its most important upgrade is the bus fleet composed of brand new vehicles. The new buses are produced by Spanish bus manufacturer Irizar, using chassis by Swedish company Scania.
The new fleet includes 200 locally-produced buses in a factory in Skhirat, near Rabat.
In June 2020, Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy visited the Skhirat factory to check the ongoing production of the new buses.
The industrial unit had produced 60 buses at the time of the visit, but Elalamy announced it would finish the production of 200 buses by the end of 2020.
The minister praised the quality of the buses, saying they respect international quality and safety standards.
“The buses are certified according to European norms. Their design allows them to never flip over. It is a rare design across the world that focuses on comfort and safety,” Elalamy said.
“The vehicles are also equipped to facilitate access for people with special needs,” he added.
Casablanca residents have long awaited the commissioning of the new buses. They have high hopes for the upgraded fleet to solve their decades-old public transportation issues.
Considering the reputation Alsa has made for itself in Morocco, the hopes of Casablanca residents are not far-fetched.
Alsa has been operating in Morocco since 1999. It currently manages buses in Marrakech, Khouribga, Tangier, Agadir, and the urban area of Temara-Rabat-Sale.