Two teenagers have vandalized two buses in Casablanca only a few hours after the city’s new bus fleet went operational.
In two separate incidents, the buses were damaged after being hit by stones. Photos on social networks show the brand new buses with broken windows.
On Sunday evening, February 14, Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) announced it had arrested two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, for vandalizing public property.
A large number of Casablanca residents expressed their anger at the behavior of the suspects and condemned their acts. They also shared their worries that such acts would once again deteriorate the quality of buses in the city.
Some citizens have suggested equipping all the roads that buses go through with cameras to curb vandalism — an issue that Casablanca residents have extensively suffered for over a decade.
New buses, old behaviors
The vandalization of the new buses came only a few hours after they became operational.
Alsa, the company managing bus transportation in Casablanca, initially announced its new bus fleet would begin operating on Monday. However, it decided to launch the new bus network two days earlier, after it received all the necessary authorizations.
Casablanca residents hope the upgraded fleet, which includes 700 buses, will finally solve their decades-long public transportation issues. The city’s inhabitants have long expressed their dissatisfaction with the services provided by M’dina Bus, the company that managed buses in the metropolis between 2004 and 2019.
In October 2019, Spanish company Alsa signed a 10-year contract with local authorities, pledging to upgrade bus transportation services in Casablanca.
With an investment of MAD 1.4 billion ($156.8 million), the new bus fleet represents Alsa’s commitment to improving the quality of public transportation in the city.
However, it seems that unless vandals are deterred, the quality of the brand new buses can quickly worsen.