Supra Tours, CTM, and the Train
11.05.2012 - 11.17.2012
When reading online forums regarding overland travel in Morocco, it appears that most people recommend Supra Tours and CTM over any other bus company in Morocco. We both DISAGREE completely. During our two week stay in Morocco, we took two different local bus companies, CTM, Supra Tours, and the train. We were most disappointed with our travels through Supra Tours and CTM and recommend taking a longer look at the local bus companies.
- *Note: the travel described below was done during November, so it was not very hot. Our opinions may have been swayed by air conditioning if it was hot.**
On our CTM bus ride from Chefchaouen to Fes, Robin sat in a seat that looked as though someone had thrown up, and the seat had not been cleaned. It was dry, but nevertheless, disgusting! We confirmed from another traveler who had taken the bus the day before us, that indeed someone had thrown up, YUCK! On this same bus ride, there was a huge fight amongst the passengers with respect to seating and tickets… this delayed our journey quite a bit and required police intervention. This company also charges you extra for luggage and forces you to put your bag below the bus.
On our Supra Tours ride, we got delayed by a late passenger, who somehow managed to piss off the driver. This confrontation resulted in a near fist fight between the passenger and the driver. After the fight was broken apart by other passengers, the driver decided to quit, the bus was turned off, and we waited for about 30 minutes before it was somehow resolved. This company also charges you extra for luggage and forces you to put your bag below the bus.
Both Supra and CTM buses typically do not stop near bus stations, this makes any chance of getting food or finding an ATM very limited! On our trip from Merzouga to Marrakech the bus only stopped at one tourist truck stops where food is not so good and expensive.
Local Bus Companies
On our local buses from Tanger to Chefchaouen and Fes to Rissani, we had NO problems at all. The staff were friendly, they helped us to buy our tickets and showed us to our seats. We were allowed to take our backpacks on the bus from Tanger, but we did have to put them under the bus from Fes. Both buses had the same, perhaps MORE leg room than the Supra or CTM buses. The local bus from Fes to Rissani stopped frequently, but we always enjoyed seeing the local towns, and purchasing some snacks from the numerous sellers. When we stopped for lunch on the local bus, it stopped at a roadside café that had local prices. We paid just 20dh, for an amazing plate of chicken, fries, rice, bread, and olives. This plate would have been over 50dh at one of the CTM or Supra Tours stops. On both our local buses, we met local people and they were eager to chat.
We took the train from Marrakesh to Casablanca and found it very pleasant. There were empty seats so we had plenty of space. The train cost us 90dh per person, where the bus was only 70dh, but then you have to pay more for luggage on the bus, and you have to deal with CTM operators, all of which we met, were mean. On the train we could put our backpacks in racks overhead. We had no problem getting tickets and a seat in second class just 15 minutes prior to departure.
With respect to only our minimal experience we disagree with the online forums that recommend CTM and Supra Tours over the local bus companies. Travel during the month of November was very pleasant without aircon and the scenery from Fes to Rissani is beautiful and you would miss it if you took an overnight bus with CTM or Supra Tours.