The new tram line was officially opened on 23 January 2019. It crosses Casablanca from the north to the south and is the second of six planned rapid transit lines, including four tram lines and two Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines. It connects poor and very isolated outlying neighborhoods to the city center, where all the public services, administrations, hospitals, universities, etc. are to be found.
“This Line 2 will contribute to strengthening the economic and social link in ‘Greater Casablanca’, a city with 4.3 million residents, where there are some 7.8 million daily journeys”, explains Rim Balafrej, Transport and Mobility Officer at AFD’s Rabat agency, “It will allow residents in outlying suburbs to finally benefit from high-quality public transport.” Indeed, the population had for too long been forced to put up with the repeated deficiencies of unreliable bus lines in a state of total disrepair. Travelers, worried every day about the discomfort and insecurity, had come to increasingly dread these journeys.
AFD very committed to public transport in Morocco
Casa Transports, a local development company, was mandated to act as the contracting authority for this project and manage the operation of the tram network. This governance system has been adopted by several municipalities in Morocco to allow them to acquire the skills necessary for this type of contracting authority. AFD, for its part, was called on to finance this second line (EUR 30m loan and EUR 500,000 grant), after having financed Line 1, which was commissioned in December 2012 (EUR 23m loan and EUR 1.3m grant).
“It should be recalled that Morocco is AFD’s main country of operation in terms of financial commitments, and the public transport sector accounts for a significant share”, points out Rim Balafrej. Participation in the creation of local development companies in Casablanca, Rabat and Agadir, financing of the two tram lines in Rabat-Salé and their extension... AFD conducts many actions in this sector. It has also supported the construction of the fastest train in Africa, between Kenitra and Tangiers, which was officially inaugurated by King Mohammed VI and President Emmanuel Macron in November 2018.
In all the projects it supports, AFD attaches the utmost importance to environmental and social monitoring during the implementation phase. For example, on the social level, AFD ensures that any economic displacement is avoided or reduced, or, otherwise, that the measures to offset the negative impacts are implemented with the establishment of a complaints mechanism.
More comfort, more security and more ecology
The operation of this network – 50 km and 70 stations to date – has been delegated to RATP Dev Casablanca. In addition to the comfort of the trains and the service quality, this tram network benefits from a video surveillance system and security teams who ensure the safety of passengers, and especially women who account for 44% of passengers. “This is an important criterion for AFD, which promotes investments in favor of gender equality.”
With 320,000 passengers a day expected by 2025 on both lines, there will also be a reduction of some 10,000 tons of equivalent CO2 thanks to the modal transfer. This ecological benefit comes in addition to the rehabilitation of the urban environment. With less disruption and pollution, more comfort and safety, this new tram network is changing the lives of the residents of Casablanca.