MOROCCO – Morocco’s largest city, Casablanca, is set to acquire 200 locally manufactured buses to enhance the comfort and safety of commuters, Morocco World News has reported.
Morocco’s Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy visited the factory in Skhirat, near Rabat, to check on the ongoing production of Casablanca’s new bus fleet.
Out of the 200 new buses expected at the end of the year, Elalamy confirmed that the factory had so far produced 60.
According to a report by Morocco World News, the new buses are being produced by Spanish bus manufacturer Irizar, using chassis by Swedish company Scania.
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.
In October 2019, Casablanca’s city council terminated the contract with M’dina Bus and signed an agreement with Spanish company Alsa.
Rebranded into “Alsa Al Baida,” the company is expected to restructure bus transportation in the Moroccan metropolis and offer upgraded services to the public.
Alsa currently operates a fleet of used buses, taken over from M’dina Bus or imported from Europe, pending the manufacture of its new fleet.
During the visit, the minister commended the quality of the buses, saying the vehicles conformed to international quality and safety norms.
“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.
Elalamy explained that the vehicles are also equipped to facilitate access for people with special needs,” he added.
He also revealed that a vast majority of engineers and technicians working at the factory are Moroccan.
“Today, the local integration rate in the automotive industry is 41%, but will soon reach 60%,” Elalamy said.
Minister of Industry also expressed hope that in future all the buses operating across the kingdom will be made in Morocco, by Moroccan workers and Moroccan engineers.
The 200 locally-produced buses from the Skhirat factory are expected to begin operating in Casablanca in 2021 as part of a new upgraded bus fleet of 700.
The buses will be deployed to operate in a network linking the 18 municipalities of Casablanca and its region.
Alsa has been operating in Morocco since 1999. The company manages buses in Marrakech, Khouribga, Tangier, Agadir, and most recently the urban area of Temara-Rabat-Sale.
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