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As bus operations go a third year in the Dar Rapid Transit (DART) project phase 1 since its inception in May 2016, there are many notable achievements which have brought about big impact on the Dar es Salaam people lifestyle in contrast with the old urban public transport system.
Due to its capacity to carry many passengers at a time, the DART buses have achieved to make many people arrive at different destinations in the city in a short time as is opposed to the old public transport system whereby the same distance could make people be stranded on the road for not less than two and a half from Kimara terminal to Kivukoni terminal at the city centre.
Because of its mass transit attribute and the given privilege of having its own lanes in the DART infrastructure, the buses in the newly introduced public system in the city are able to reach each destination within short time, hence saving a junk of time and money for users more than what used to be in the past.
Of course, a string of successes in the DART project could go endlessly, but also there are challenges that have come with the newness of the project. These huddles, however, are not meant to surpass the goodness of the project.
One obvious unbecoming behavior is for people to fight for seats in spite the fact that the number of seats is 40 whether it is for articulated or medium size bus. In principle, the seats are for special groups such as elderly people, expectant mothers, people with disabilities and the sick.
Wanting to know as to why many people scramble for buses during peak hours, the Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, working for Policy and Coordination, Prof. Faustine Kamuzora, noted that though the number of buses deployed to operate during Interim Service Provider (ISP) is still small, there is a stark evidence for many people to think that to travel on the DART buses they must get a seat otherwise they are considered by their peers unlucky.
The Permanent Secretary noted people’s predilection for craving to occupy seats while taking rides in BRT buses when discussing different issues about the DART project during his visit to DART Agency. The purpose of his visit was to update himself with progress of the project whose implementation is done in six phases.
With his experience on public urban transport from developed countries, buses are manufactured to carry many passengers standing while very few seated because of short distances that people are expected to travel.
He said: “There are many people who want to travel in big cities, sometimes in hundreds if not in thousands at ago. If we wanted to have every passenger seated in these city buses, what type of buses would be expected to cater for this demand?”
He however, admitted that one of the main reasons for people to crave for seats in the buses is probably due to newness of the mode of transport in the city. Nevertheless, the Permanent Secretary allayed the DART staff’s fears on the inclination by saying that with time and education people will come to understand the proper interpretation of how urban public transport should be regarded.
The Permanent Secretary was mainly impressed with the achievements that have been demonstrated by changing the system of public transport in the city noting that due to the nature of the project many people will stop from driving their own cars everyday when going to work or to their place of their businesses.
By abandoning their cars, people are going to save a lot of money they used to spend on fuel and maintenance. This will also reduce the number of vehicles on the road and therefore reducing the degree of air pollutants in city, he said.
Highlighting the aspect reduction of air pollution through the implementation of DART project, he said: “I would expect of you to promote the aspect of BRT going for greener factor in cities at international forums because this mode of transport reduces emissions of poisonous gases by vehicles which are detrimental to human life. Through this, I hope many nations would support you and perhaps become the icon of defending good environment which is biggest current agenda at international debates on climate change.”
Prof. Kamuzora promised to provide DART Agency any possible help from the Prime Minister’s Office in making sure that the project succeeds even beyond people’s expectations.
The second phase of the project infrastructure development on Kilwa road is expected to start later this year followed by phase three which runs on Nyerere road to the airport.