Since the inception of bus operations in the Dar Rapid Transit (DART) project phase 1 under interim service in May 2016, many countries in Africa have been attracted to come to Dar es Salaam to learn how Tanzania has managed to bring about transformation in urban public transport through bus rapid transit (BRT).
Just yesterday, a delegation of 10 officials from the government of Liberia came to DART Agency to learn and have hands on experience on BRT.
In due course of trying to get how Dar es Salaam changed tack in urban public transport in order to ameliorate the industry, Assistant Minister for Planning and Programming in Liberia, James Reynolds, appreciated the fast pace that the Tanzania Government is making in a bid to transport many people at one time instead of clinging to the old tradition of letting many people use their private cars in big cities such as Dar es Salaam, a trend which always causes traffic jams.
Reynolds noted: “The fact that Tanzania has managed to establish mass transit in this big city, is something to be admired though there might be some challenges in running the projects while struggling to manage people’s expectations.”
The minister said: “There are always challenges whenever something new is introduced in a society and these challenges differ from country to country depending on the nature of the project and people’s culture.”
Mr. Reynolds also noted that BRT infrastructure and way of managing bus operations cannot easily be replicated from one country to another as situations may differ in terms of space and requirements of the people in a particular city.
With the good strides the government has made so far, political support is very important in order to galvanize its people into supporting the implementation of the project towards its full potentials, the minister said.
Highlighting on the recurring challenges in the DART system concerning bus operations, the DART Chief Executive, Eng. Ronald Lwakare, observed that before starting BRT bus services in Dar es Salaam, many city dwellers used to start their journeys early in the morning to catch small commuter buses to their place of work or business.
With the coming of BRT project in the city, Eng. Lwakatare noted that many people have changed their travelling timetables in the morning as BRT buses carry many passengers at ago and that the buses spend little time before reaching different destinations.
He said: “Because people have found that BRT buses spend less time than the traditional ones, many people have shifted to arriving at stations at six or seven in the morning, making the service during peak hour almost unmanageable especially where stations have many people.”
To alleviate overcrowding during peak hours especially in the morning, DART Agency and its key stakeholders have made a change of timetable for BRT buses to start service early at 4:30am in order to spread peak hours.
Instead of starting the services at 5:00am as used to be in the past, the buses now should start operating from 4:30am enabling some people to plan their journeys early, Eng. Lwakatare said.The delegation from Liberia came to Tanzania to learn how Tanzania is managing different major projects in the transport industry including the DART project.