Photo: Duane Daws

Photo: Duane Daws

The Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Jumanne Sagini (front) leading a group of local and foreign investors during a field tour that was part of the international meeting dubbed ‘Market Consultation for Phase one of DART Project’ held recently in Dar es Salaam.

Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) Agency recently held an international meeting dubbed ‘Market Consultation for Phase one of DART Project,’ in Dar es Salaam where various transportation players and investors from within and outside the country discussed several matters on the ongoing Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

Our Correspondent who attended the meeting reports on what transpired during the two- day forum…IT brings a sense of relief when you initiate something and it gets support from your peers or even strangers.

This is true at the level of individuals, institutions and nations as well. Getting a positive feedback from someone inspires and encourages you to carry on whatever you are doing.

This is what happened during a recent international meeting dubbed ‘Market Consultation for Phase one of DART Project.’ During the meeting, investors from both within and outside the country supported and expressed interest to invest in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

Talking during the meeting, the Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office for Regional Administration and Local Government, Mr Aggrey Mwanri said: “This consultation meeting was a success…investors showed a lot of interest into the project.”

The meeting which was attended by various players and service providers gave a platform for investors to give their views on various matters on the project.

“The government has taken all their views…we are going to work on them and see how best the system will serve people,” the Deputy Minister said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Dar es Salaam Rapid Transit (DART) Agency, Ms Asteria Mlambo said the meeting was important and helped to get diverse views from stakeholders.

“The views will lead us on the way forward,” she said, adding that the agency expects to advertise tenders to look for service providers of the project this July. She said that the meeting proved that many stakeholders were happy and ready to embrace the new transport system.

She said that Tanzanians seeking to invest in the system need to form companies and join forces so as to have strong and one voice in order to be competitive. The meeting was attended by investors and other stakeholders from 17 countries including South Africa, Brazil, China, Sweden, United States of America (USA) and Mexico among others.

The Chief Technical Officer for DART Agency, Mr Dieter Schelling said a big number of attendees reflect a desire of both local and international investors to venture into the BRT project.

“This shows the readiness of investors into this project,” he said. Talking at earlier meeting that involved local transport players, Ilala District Commissioner (DC), Mr Raymond Mushi, challenged commuter bus owners in Dar es Salaam to make sure that they strengthen Mzizima Dar es Salaam Express Company to be able to compete in tenders to run the much awaited BRT system.

Dar es Salaam Express is a new transportation company formed this year by commuter bus owners to strengthen their union and bargaining power and see how they will be part of the BRT System in the City of Dar es Salaam expected to start at the end of this year.

“We would like you to be part of the project,” Mr Mushi who represented the Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner (RC) said, adding that will be possible only through a company which is strong and competitive.

The meeting which was coordinated also by DART Agency sought to explain to owners of the commuter buses popularly called daladala and UDA, opportunities in BRT system and how they can become active players.

It should be remembered that in April, this year, DART Agency finalised registration of commuter buses using Morogoro Road or whose routes crosses Morogoro Road.

The registration was part of preparations for the new transportation system in the country’s commercial city. Mr Mushi explained that throughout the world, transporters join and form companies and that it was time for the same to happen in Tanzania and bring efficiency.

He said that it is necessary for daladala owners to make their new company strong by way of buying shares and other means to be able to competitively take part in bids to look for service providers.

“Join hands, strengthen your company so that you become part of this unique project… you deserve,” he noted. Ms Mlambo said the meeting that involved daladala and UDA owners went on well as earlier anticipated.

She explained that transport stakeholders should be confident because they will be allowed to take part in bidding for tenders either independently or with foreign companies. She also said that daladala owners can buy 30 per cent shares of UDA and join forces to compete for the tenders expected to be announced in few months to come.

The 30 per cent shares offer to the owners of daladala was announced at the meeting by UDA Executive Director, Mr Simon Bulenganija. The Chairman of Daladala owners Association in Dar es Salaam (DARCOBOA), Mr Sabri Mabruk hailed the anticipated transportation system and said that it will improve and modernise the city.

“We have formed Mzizima Dar es Salaam Express to have one strong voice,” he said. However, he said they prefer to run the new system by 100 per cent.

“We need to run the system on our own…that is our humble appeal to the government,” Mr Mabruk said. The Director of Training, Research and Development at UDA, Mr Henry Bantu said it was time that Tanzania do away with having individuals operate commuter buses.

Obviously, the current state of affairs where Dar es Salaam has more than 6,000 commuter buses that carry only 43 per cent of the city dwellers is not sustainable for development to take place.

Changes in transportation are necessary in a city with more than 120,000 private vehicles that carry only six per cent of residents with 480,000 of their seats lacking passengers and where fifty-one per cent of residents walk to their various destinations.

By any standards, these statistics are staggering and this calls for actions to reverse the trend if we need to turn Dar es Salaam into a competitive city and a better place to live.

With ongoing preparations of DART project and support it gets from both local and foreign investors, there is optimism. Concerned individuals and institutions need to step up their support and facilitation to make it a success. On-going works of the project envisions reducing traffic jams and congestion in Dar es Salaam City.

The project includes construction of 20.9 kilometre special trunk road from Kimara terminal to Kivukoni area, Msimbazi road from Fire to Kariakoo-Gerezani area and a part of Kawawa Road from Magomeni to Morocco junction.