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Train Hustlers - Casablanca to Fes

Canberra, Australia
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1 post
17 reviews
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Train Hustlers - Casablanca to Fes

Just wanted to advice that 'professional hustlers' are alive and well in the Casablanca to Fes route. Their goal is to direct you to their preferred hotels and/or to get you on tours where they get a kickback. I realise others have written about it but I thought I share my contemporary experience.

Before I even boarded the train one of the station staff directed a guy towards me. He was very helpful and got me on the right carriage and into my first class seat. (The seat numbers are written in pen on the back wall and unless you knew that you would miss them).

Anyhoo the gentlemen, Mahomud, was a very personable companion for the journey. There were some very telltale signs, however. Mahomud said he worked for the Tourism office. He sought to gain trust by running down hotels and the like for ripping off tourists. Hustling them is what he said. He tried to run down my Riad, saying that the tourism office had complaints against them and people had sought 'reparations'. Mahomud was not happy when I explained that I had prepaid my stay (this meant he couldn't divert me). [Note my hotel had nothing but rave reviews].

He wanted to take me to my hostel but I had pre-arranged a driver. He tried to say that these people were ripping me off. Well, sure, I was paying more. Actually, as it turns out I was paying to circumvent him! Again, he was not happy that I was being met. But he had one further fallback position.

He got his brother in law Abdul to speak with me on the phone. Abdul's son was living in New Zealand and loved to talk with Aussies. Mahamud said that Abdul would have me over for a meal and show me around. He ran down the tour guides and said they were too expensive.

Anyway, Abduhl met me at the train station and said hello. I agree to meet him the next morning but didn't.

Incidently, I was pretty sure I was being hustled the whole time, but it was confirmed by another passenger in the train who overhead Mahamud's phone conversations in Arabic. I had been told that Mahamud was going to Fes to be with his family, but he had said on the phone that he was going straight back to Casablanca.

Note that Mahamud would not give me a business card and Abdul wouldn't give me his mobile number or address.

Abdul had a handler call my hotel but I just told them to tell the guy to get lost.

In the end it was a pretty amusing experience and I am surprised that these people can make any money out of this when it is so hit and miss. These people were polite and I got a free cup of coffee out of it.

The moral of the story is that if they start to try to take over your travel plans then its a hustle. And never get in a situation where you would be getting into a car with a stranger who you have absolutely no personal information about. If you are not an assertive person, I recommend that you have driver's booked so that there is capacity for the hustler's to 'help' you.

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1. Re: Train Hustlers - Casablanca to Fes


One of the oldest and slickest scams to be found here, I fell (partly) for it many years ago. You handled the situation exactly as it should be done so good for you and a timely reminder to anyone else travelling to Fes by train, or indeed to Marrakech.

2. Re: Train Hustlers - Casablanca to Fes

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