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As the Dar Rapid Transit (DART) project phase one just marked two years of bus operations under interim service provider (ISP) in May this year, the association of motorcyclists in Dar es Salaam popularly known as Chama cha Madereva wa Pikipiki na Bajaji cha Maendeleo Tanzania (MAPIMATA), recently demanded special lane in the DART infrastructure so as to ease bodaboda hailing.
The claim by bodaboda leaders to be granted the right of inclusion in the DART system has come against a backdrop of frequent arrests of motorcyclists and tricyclists by police when found violating traffic rules in the system.
Some of the aspects that fall under traffic rule violation in the DART system include driving in the dedicated lanes for DART buses, intruding the bicycles and walkways or making bodaboda stations in DART system.
Apart from being given a special lane for this group, the leaders for the association have also demanded to be provided with special point in the system to drop their passengers instead of stopping anywhere seen convenient by the driver which leads to misunderstanding and inconvenience between the government authorities and BRT infrastructure users.
The Chairperson of MAPIMATA association, Edward Mwenisongole, “Since other groups of BRT users have been given space to benefit the system, we would also be grateful if the designers of BRT give us special lanes and stations so as to simplify our business. We are currently facing a myriad of huddles carrying our passengers to different places in the city.”
Although bodaboda and bajaji have been included in the category of mixed traffic they argue that using the mixed traffic lane makes them not free to run the business of transporting passengers to their destinations due to the lanes being busy with different types of vehicle hence risking themselves to fatal accidents.
MAPIMATA commander Ramadhan Ndege, had of the opinion that one station for bodaboda would have been constructed at Kimara terminal to cater for bodaboda and bajaji in order to give transport service to people alighting at Kimara from DART buses.
However, Kinondoni zonal MAPIMATA Chairperson, Boniface Mugasi, admitted lack of knowledge on the use of walkways in the DART system saying that bodaboda used to think that the walkways were also meant for motorized vehicles such as motorcycles and any other car driver that would find it convenient to do so.
Replying to the leaders association, the DART Agency Chief Executive, Eng. Ronald Lwakatare, expounded the structure of DART infrastructure and the rationale for the structure vis-à-visits users.
Eng. Lwakatare promised the leaders that their concerns and recommendations will be taken to different government authorities and infrastructure designers for discussion and perhaps for implementation in the next phases of the DART project.