Public Transit… I cringe every time I need to take public transportation. It’s just not something I like. My experiences with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), GO Transit, or the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) brings awful memories into my head.
I am thankful to god that I don’t have to take a bus in Morocco. I mean — these buses are very packed. More packed than the average route on the TTC and more packed than the 51 during rush hour at the Sterling Street stop at McMaster on the HSR.
In Morocco, I don’t use the public transit a lot. Why would, I? I’m able to take a petit taxi to and from my place of residence or school. It’s a blessing, to be quite honest. However, a couple days ago a group of us were traveling to Salé to visit the Medina there. Since Petit Taxi’s cannot leave their designated cities, we decided to take the Tram. The Tram or formally known as the Tramway, is more likely known in Canada as the Eglinton CrossTown LRT or the HSR LRT. It was supposed to be a normal ride. I bought a 6 dirham ticket from an automated counter at the station and got onto the train.
As I got on, I noticed a ticket agent collecting everyone’s ticket and verifying their authenticity. Since I bought a ticket from the automated machine, I made my way to the middle of the tram where I stood quietly listening to my music. As the ticket agent slowly made his way to me, I was thinking about how people can get caught with fake tickets and how embarrassing a situation like that would we. When the agent asked for my ticket, I obliged and handed it to him. He swiped it and I thought that was that. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
He started uttering things in French and Darija “The Moroccan dialect of Arabic”, and the only thing I could reply back with was “Je ne parle pas Français… Je parle anglais”. In his broken english, he asked why I didn’t speak french. Stunned with the stupidness of that question, I replied with Ma Fahmentsh (I don’t understand). He asked for I.D. but I didn’t have any. He asked for a passport but I only had a copy of it on my phone. So I pulled it out but he said no. I though he said cenq (5) and pulled out a 5 .د.م coin to which he also said no. I was confused and everybody on the train was staring. Finally, he took out his book and pointed to the number 50 on the paper that had the fines on it.
I was shocked. It was my first time on the tram and now I have to pay a 50 .د.م dirham fine. I thought to myself why? I looked around for bystanders but no one spoke English. Someone managed to tell me that my ticket wasn’t valid. They pointed to their ticket, which resembled mine, to show what a valid one looked like. I was baffled. I reluctantly paid the fine but still didn’t realize what was happening.
After Lily, Mahisha, Jen, and Kelly got on the same Tram, they explained what happened. Apparently you’re supposed to validate your ticket when you board the train so the agents don’t think you’re riding the train forever.
It was a frightening first experience on the tram. Compared to the TTC, I’ve never experienced anything like this but at least I learned something new.