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2008-11-07

Construction to begin next year on Casablanca tram project

By Mawassi Lahcen for Magharebia in Casablanca – 07/11/08

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The City of Casablanca will soon request bids for the construction of the city's first tram system, according to Mayor Mohamed Sajid. The new project is part of a strategic plan to develop the city.

"Building the tram line is a basic pillar in the integrated development plan for Casablanca," said Sajid. "The goal is to achieve a balance in the various areas of the city and end the isolation of the suburbs, connecting them to the dynamic economic and social activities in the city."

Plans for the 28-km tramway were first presented to King Mohammed VI in 2006. Last month, the king signed the request to release the allocated budget.

The line covers the area from northeast Casablanca starting at the Olympic stadium in Sidi Moumen snaking through Hay Mohamadi, the city centre, hospitals, train stations, the airport and the industrial Sidi Maarouf district, until its final destination in the southwestern district of Al Hosna.

Construction of the line will begin early next year, Sajid said. Officials estimate the project will reach completion in five years, with a portion of the network beginning operation in 2012.

The city has planned on a budget of 6.4 billion dirhams for the project, with the national government contributing 1.2 billion dirhams and the rest provided through the municipal budget and loans.

The tram, Sajid said, will also provide Casablanca residents with a clean, environmentally-friendly public means of transportation at fares close to the present rates.

"Naturally, we will work hard to maintain the financial balance of the project. Our objective, however, is to provide a means of intensive public transportation, and ensuring that it is affordable to all members of society."

Hopes are high that the new transportation system will revive the city and urban surroundings. It will be easier for businesses to flourish once the project is done and some areas will be more reachable to tourists.

"The principal goal of the new urban development scheme is to promote Casablanca's social and economic environment," Allal Sakrouhi, director of the Greater Casablanca Urban Agency told Le Reporter.

Sakrouhi said that that the project will help to make the East side of the city more attractive, from Ain Sebaa and Zenata all the way to Mohammedia.

The issue of developing public transit in Casablanca has been on the table for ten years, according to the mayor. At some point, the municipality was considering an underground metro line, but a lack of equipment and sufficient funding were the main obstacles.

"We can say that we found the solution," Sajid said, "through hybrid economic partnership, in which the municipality, government and private sector will participate."

According to Sajid, the municipality created Casablanca Transportation Co. with capital of four billion dirhams to supervise the project. The municipality owns 58% of the capital, with 30% for the government and 10% owned by the Hassan II Fund for Development. The rest is owned by Bank of the People, CDG and the Collaborative Insurance Company. The remaining 2.4 billion dirhams needed for the project will come in the form of bank loans.

Sajid said that the new tram system is only the start. The plan to develop public transportation includes future 76-km tram lines to link the suburbs and neighbouring cities and a 21-km metro line.

"Now all the focus will be on finishing the execution of the project," said Casablanca Governor Mohamed Kabbaj.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    Slavery 2011-8-2

    Oh, God Almighty, protect the prisoners that we are of the perversity, backwardness and greed of these leaders from another time. They are cruel and shameless. They have made us the laughing stock of the world. This is why the young people are fleeing this country, which does not belong to them. It belongs to those who are rich and in the regime. That is all. The entire country has advanced, but in spite of what they want to make us believe, we are the last, the humiliated. This is worse than going hungry. Dignity is what we are demanding.

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    AOUBA 2011-7-31

    I had the luck of living with three kings. Thanks to God, I am currently very surprised by the devotion and the courage of our king, His Majesty Mohamed VI. God willing, Morocco will be the best country in the Arab world. God willing.

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    رشيد 2010-12-12

    Zouheir posted on 22-07-2009. “Concerning this topic, I am sorry to say that we Moroccans only have words. (we will inaugurate, we will do, we will act…) without achieving anything. Look what the sister Algeria did. This year will be inaugurated without much fuss the metro of the capital. By the way it is still impossible to realize it here in Casablanca in spite of this desperate gossip.” Today in 2011, no metro has yet been inaugurated in Algeria my brother. To your knowledge, the project of the metro in Algeria began in 1981 and it has not yet been completed. However, the biggest catastrophe is that its length is only 9 km! This is just for your knowledge my brother Zouheir.

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    عبد العزيز 2009-10-23

    Another cow-milk is added to the cow of Rabat from which decisions-makers (illegitimate bellies) suck the fund of a people who has and is still tasting the woes of poverty and oppression. I am honoured to announce you the funeral prayer, the funeral of a state, may God rest your souls.

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    زهير 2009-7-22

    Concerning this topic, I am sorry to say that we Moroccans only have words. (we will inaugurate, we will do, we will act…) without achieving anything. Look what the sister Algeria did. This year will be inaugurated without much fuss the metro of the capital. By the way it is still impossible to realize it here in Casablanca in spite of this desperate gossip.

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    ماذا؟ 2009-5-23

    Four years??? Will it the tramway be beneficial after all this period? The answer is categorically no. Moreover, the tramway rail in Casablanca should have been one of the historical monuments in the city and not one of the future projects. We are in a city which is considered the centre and capital of the economy of the country. How can residents of the city of Casablanca be divided to two classes. The north class: Sidi Moumen, El bernoussi, Hay Mohamadi, Sidi Otmane, downtonw and the south class: Sidi Maarouf, El Oulfa, California, El Maarif, Ain Diab...They were divided as if everyone lives in the city alone. Moving from El Bernoussi to El Oulfa requires one hour in addition to one hour to ride a bus. So daily travel to work from El Bernoussi to El Olfa takes about two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening which is 4 hours a day just for transport. Hahahaha. Yes, we are in fact in Morocco.

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    محمد الكازاوي 2009-3-1

    This is very nice: a tramway in Casablanca. I am proud of huge projects which will be built in Casablanca. However, these plans are not enough to stop traffic congestion in Casablanca given the increasing numbers of internal immigration to the city and its quick expansion. Everyone who has an economic or social problem sees the solution in immigrating to this city where job opportunities are abundant given that it is an economic city. This drove up the prices of real estate whether for buying, renting or mortgage. There is also a drop in income which reaches 1,700 dirhams. Find us solutions councils, municipalities and governors of Casablanca.

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    Marocain de Paris 2009-2-19

    This is a good initiative, but what is the cost?

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    Anonymous 2008-11-13

    I may not be Moroccan, but I live in Morocco and think this will be for the better. It's surprising that the article didn't mention that there's a tram line going through Rabat too, although I have no idea when that's going to be finished.

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    BM 2008-11-12

    This is an interesting article. It is a shame that it has to be accompanied by a photo of "Meussieu Sabot" of Casablanca. What a real shame. As for funding this, I hope he does not impose fixed taxes on our shoes or create licensing for going from one street or district to the next. Otherwise, there will be taxes and coinage floating in the air we breathe here in Casablanca, even if it is the most polluted in the world. Poor Casablanca! Poor Casablancans!

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    casablancaise 2008-11-11

    I am proud of my king, Mohamed VI. I appreciate the efforts made by the mayor of Casablanca, Mr Sajed, the community, the government and all the people in charge, who have brought this project into being. This is as much for the development of public transportation as it is for the development of the city of Casablanca.

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    Issam 2008-11-10

    Metro wold have been better, but i don't know what is their excuses or feasibility studies, but the soil underneath casablanca couldn't be worse than the soil underneath netherlands cities. Regardless, we have to see Rabat's tramway finish first, then embark on a second colossal project.

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    ob 2008-11-9

    Fantastic more traffic jams............the intire Morocco seems under construction yet nothing is ever finished.

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